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Liverpool Lose Willian as Spurs Splash Bale Money

Despite leading the race for Willian early, Liverpool are now set to lose the Brazilian attacker to Spurs while the north London club are on the verge of finalising the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for £93M.


Two of the summer's biggest potential transfer deals are on the verge of completion—and the closest Liverpool can say they are to either is that Anfield appear set to miss out on yet another potential marquee signing with Willian edging closer to finalising a move to Spurs. For Liverpool, following on the club losing out on Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Dortmund and Diego Costa's decision to sign a new deal to stay at Atletico Madrid rather than head to the Premier League, being beating to Willian by their north London rivals for the top four might hurt the most.

Not only does Willian's decision deprive Liverpool of a star signing who would have slipped easily into an area of need in Brendan Rodgers' attack, but it significantly strengthens a side they will almost certainly have to leapfrog to have any chance of returning to the Champions League. It is, however, a move that brings Tottenham's net spend this summer—already at £45M before the Willian deal—to a staggering £75M. It's a figure that only makes any kind of sense for a club not bankrolled by an oil-rich billionaire if Gareth Bale's sale is imminent, and so it's no real surprise today to learn that Bale to Madrid also appears nearly completed.

While reports of Willian to Spurs gather momentum, it seems increasingly as though Bale is set to complete his move to Real Madrid for a record £93M fee. There is further speculation that at least some of that incoming money has been earmarked to bring left back Fabio Coentrao in the other direction to the tune of £15M. Given the timing, it would seem clear the London club have had a deal in principle agreed with Madrid for some time on the understanding they be allowed to conclude their spending before Bale's sale—and gargantuan fee—is announced.

About the only good news for Liverpool in all of this would seem to be that Tottenham will have already spent most of that Bale money—£45M net so far this summer plus another £45M for Willian and Coentrao leaves them with the footballing equivalent of pocket change—which should at least make it more difficult for the London club to meet the £21M fee Internacional want for striker Leandro Damiao if Liverpool are indeed interested in the Brazilian as a plan B to Willian.

As for fans of other clubs, and despite Spurs' impressive collection of summer purchases, there will be some encouragement to be found in the fact that more than any other team near the top of last season's table they relied on one player—and that player will this season be plying his trade at the Bernabeu. Paulinho, Soldado, Willian, and Coentrao make up an impressive quartet of big-name signings on paper, but if they fail to deliver at a level commensurate to their transfer fees Spurs may still find themselves worse off without Bale than they were last season with him.

For Liverpool fans, though, such desperate clawing for reasons to be hopeful will be thin gruel after missing out on yet another star signing who would have helped to bridge the gap between where the club are now and where they want to be.

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