When Real Madrid brought Zinedine Zidane back to the Bernabeu last season, it was under the proviso that the Frenchman had a much greater control over transfer policy than before. The Los Blancos board certainly seem to be keeping up their end of the bargain, having splashed out in the region of £330m on new signings so far this summer.
That looks set to rise much higher as Paul Pogba attempts to engineer a way out of Manchester United, with a price tag of around £150m slapped on the Frenchman’s head. All of this spending needs financing in some way, with the likes of Isco and even world player of the year Luka Modric linked with moves away from the club.
Which brings us to Gareth Bale. Despite a trophy-laden spell in the Spanish capital, and some breathtaking goals and huge contributions on the grandest stages, the Welshman’s time at Madrid looks to be up. While he and his agent maintain he wants to stay and fight for his place, Zidane has other ideas and wants him out.
With Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic joining a strike force that also includes Karim Benzema, Marcos Asensio, Lucas Vasquez and Vinicius Junior, there doesn’t appear to be space for Bale. Despite his chequered relationship with Madridistas, it has to be his injury record that’s done for his future at the Bernabeu.
However, that relationship with the fans hit another low this week, as the 29-year-old was greeted with shouts of ‘desagradecido’ when he reported back to Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground for the start of pre-season. Translating into English as ‘ungrateful’, it seems the locals may have got their wires crossed in quite a spectacular way.
Quite what Bale is purportedly ungrateful about is a complete mystery, and it is the Madrid fans who have been completely ungrateful of their No 11’s contribution and efforts in the white shirt. In the wake of those misguided insults, it emerged that Madrid have reportedly turned down an approach from a Chinese Super League team to take Bale off their hands, in a fresh twist to the tale.
Bale was apparently offered wages in the region of an eye-watering £1.2m per week, but Madrid turned down the approach as the unnamed club didn’t want to pay a transfer fee. That’s not surprising in the face of those wages, but Real are looking to recoup their outlay from six years ago, which saw the forward move to Spain for a then-world record fee of around £86m.
Bale is 8/11 to sign for any Chinese Super League club this summer, but considering his desire to stay at the top level of European football, that looks highly unlikely. With that in mind, he is 1/2 to stay at the Bernabeu, although Madrid are reportedly doing their best to convince Manchester United to take him as part of a deal to secure the services of Pogba. United don’t seem to want to play ball, but you can get 16/1 on Bale joining the Red Devils.
With the size of his pay packet and a huge transfer fee to fund, there aren’t many suitors for a 29-year-old with a poor injury record. One team who could be interested in his services is Paris Saint-Germain, who look set to lose Neymar. They’re likely to demand Ousmane Dembele or Philippe Coutinho in return, but PSG are 28/1 to sign Bale. Bayern Munich are also 28/1 as they look to replace Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, while Bale is 16/1 to head off into the Los Angeles sunset and sign for MLS side LA Galaxy.