The Welshman made a world-record move to Real Madrid this summer but, as Goal reveals, his fee could have purchased a club a wealth of talent
When Real Madrid spent an astonishing €100 million (£86m) to lure Gareth Bale to the Spanish capital from Tottenham this summer, they smashed their own transfer world record. Of course, los Blancos were not the only club to be active in the transfer market and Goal is here to present an entire XI purchased for the same price as the Welshman.
Maarten Stekelenburg - Roma to Fulham
The 30-year-old has been deposed as Dutch number one under the Louis van Gaal regime after enduring mixed fortunes during his time in the Roma goal. A price tag of €5.6m (£4.7m) could prove to be a bargain for Fulham as they have acquired the services of man who, on his day, can be regarded as the best in his position. Immediate among his concerns will be to re-establish himself as the Netherlands first-choice goalkeeper ahead of the World Cup. He then might depart Craven Cottage for a more high-profile team like his compatriot Edwin van der Sar.
Dani Carvajal - Bayer Leverkusen to Real Madrid
The Real Madrid cantera prospect was widely regarded as the best right-back in the Bundesliga last season. He has made the return trip from Leverkusen to the Spanish capital for a fee of €6.5m (£5.5m) after proving his worth to the hierarchy at the Santiago Bernabeu. The 21-year-old has already displaced Alvaro Arbeloa as the starting right-back in Carlo Ancelotti's team and will be knocking on the door for a World Cup place under Vicente del Bosque next summer.
Benoit Tremoulinas - Bordeaux to Dinamo Kyiv
France international left-back who took the opportunity for a fresh start in a €6.5m move (£5.5m) from Bordeaux to Dinamo Kyiv during the summer. An experienced Champions League campaigner, Tremoulinas is moving into his prime as a player and represents a fine bit of business for the club vying to wrest control of Ukrainian football back from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Diego Reyes - Club America to FC Porto
The Olympic gold-medalist will find it tough to break into the heart of the Porto defence but hopes are high at the Dragao that the assured, confident Mexican can become the new Ricardo Carvalho. Porto are renowned for their ability to spot talent in South America but have cast their radar further north this summer by securing the services of two of the most sought-after Mexican talents in the game. Hector Herrera and Reyes, who cost €7m (£5.9m), will bank huge profits for the Portuguese giants when the time comes to move on.
Mamadou Sakho - PSG to Liverpool
Due to the volume of arrivals it was inevitable that Paris St-Germain were going to have to start shedding players at some stage. In defence, after the signing of Marquinhos, it is highly-regarded youth team product and former captain, Mamadou Sakho, who is expendable. A cast-off of a new regime he may be but he is no less a player for his exit. An awesomely powerful centre-back who can pass the ball well from the back, Sakho is worth every cent of the €17m (£14.5m) the Reds paid to land him.
Luiz Gustavo - Bayern Munich to Wolfsburg
The odd man out of Bayern's midfield following the acquisition of Mario Gotze from Borussia Dortmud, Gustavo surprisingly opted for a move to Wolfsburg when a deal with Arsenal looked at one stage to be close. The Brazil international was keen to keep playing first-team football, something which could not be guaranteed to him by Pep Guardiola in Bavaria. At €17.5m (£14.78m), Gustavo's quality comes at a relatively high price but his is a statement signing and he will help Wolfsburg challenge for a Champions League berth.
Jeremy Toulalan - Malaga to AS Monaco
The former France midfielder was a key part of Malaga's run to the brink of the Champions League semi-finals last season and possesses the experience and nous to help the newly-minted Monaco up the Ligue 1 table. Due to Malaga's financial predicaments, Toulalan was available for a relatively small fee of €5m (£4.2m) but will complement the more dynamic talents of Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez perfectly.
Dimitri Payet - Lille OSC to Marseille
L'OM are back in the Champions League and this summer brought a departure from their austerity campaign of 12 months previous. Big money was lavished on the cream of French domestic talent, spearheaded by the €10m (£8.45m) signing from Lille. Payet is a wide player of growing repute and is hoping that his move south will bring with it a place in les Bleus' 2014 World Cup squad.
Juan Quintero - Pescara to FC Porto
Porto have quite possibly bagged themselves the bargain of the summer in the shape of Quintero, Colombia's intelligent, vibrant playmaker. A fee of only €5m (£4.2m) was required to spirit him away from relegated Pescara in Serie A and he has hit the ground running in his new surroundings. After selling James for €45m (£38m), Porto have upgraded for around 10 per cent of that price.
David Villa - Barcelona to Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid have a long, illustrious history of boasting supreme strikers in their line-up and this summer they have signed another. David Villa, for a minuscule fee of €2.1m (£1.7m) has replaced the outgoing Falcao and hit the ground running with a Supercopa goal against his former employers Barcelona. Spain's record goalscorer and a bonafide modern day legend, El Guaje guarantees goals.
Mario Gomez - Bayern Munich to Fiorentina
Gomez is a Champions League winner with something to prove following his exit from Bayern Munich. The 28-year-old is a consistent goalscorer but was deemed unsuitable by the new Bayern manager Pep Guardiola who let him go for €15.5m (£13.1m). The Germany international will light up Serie A with goals and could help fill a Gabriel Batistuta/Luca Toni-shaped hole in the hearts of the Viola faithful.