The pressure is mounting on Gareth Bale, the world’s most expensive player. Mind, he hasn’t even kicked a ball for Real Madrid in a competitive match. Yet, the pressure is building.
Already his transfer has left the Madrid fans divided into opposing camps. Many great players including Zinedine Zidane have questioned the fee paid by Madrid, while many even wondered whether Bale was actually needed to improve the current squad.
But, what left a bad taste in the mouth was the unjustified expulsion of star midfielder Mesut Ozil, who was sold to Premier League giants Arsenal on the transfer deadline day.
German coach Joachim Loew branded the move “incomprehensible” while current Madrid players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Isco vented their frustrations after seeing Ozil leave the club.
While Bale’s reception has created such fuss, English press and Arsenal fans have greeted Ozil heartily. And early indications of the popularity of the transfer have been reflected on shirt sales.
According to the sales figures published by UK shirts retailer UKSoccershop, Ozil’s Arsenal shirts have outsold Bale’s Madrid jersey by 5 to 1.
Leaving aside the debate over Bale’s sporting merits, a large part of any major transfer is often the commercial advantages associated with the signing of the player. Bale was signed partially for his enhanced image rights. However, even those image rights pale in comparison to the sheer joy experienced by Arsenal fans worldwide at signing a superstar like Mesut Ozil.