What next for Gareth Bale? – Welsh legend stuck at Real Madrid

Published on: July 29, 2019
Author: Sam F
gareth-baleThis week saw Gareth Bale being the focus of intense transfer controversy. The Welsh star appeared set for a £1 million-a-week move to the Chinese club, Jiangsu Suning, but the deal fell through at the last minute. As a result, Gareth Bale appears to be stuck with Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid for the foreseeable future.

However, there’s still nearly two weeks left in the Spanish football transfer window. Although Real Madrid are struck with big injury problems, the rocky relationship between Zidane and Bale suggests that a move to a massive European football club could still be on the cards. But if a transfer move falls through, how will Bale fit into the new-look Real Madrid team?

Why did the deal to Jiangsu Suning fall through?

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Last week it was revealed that Gareth Bale was very close to agreeing terms with the Chinese Super League club, Jiangsu Suning. Real Madrid’s head coach, Zinedine Zidane made no secret of the fact that Real Madrid wanted rid of the Welsh striker.

The deal promised to see Bale earning close to £1 million each week by playing Chinese Super League football. This would have been almost double the amount that the Welsh star was earning at Los Blancos, and it shows how the Chinese Super League is getting serious about attracting big-name stars.

Jiangsu Suning are currently in the upper reaches of the Chinese Super League table, and their squad already contains the ex-Atletico Madrid defender, Miranda, alongside the Brazilian midfielder, Alex Teixeira.

However, on Sunday it was sensationally revealed that Bale’s move to China had been abruptly called off. Apparently Real Madrid’s board called off the deal at the last minute as they were still looking for a transfer fee for Bale.

In particular, it was Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Perez, who blocked the move as he deemed the Welsh striker to be just too valuable to let go. Perez has proven to have been a long-time ally of Bale in the fractious Real Madrid camp, and it shows what a contentious figure the Welshman has become at the Bernabeu.

The transfer window of the Chinese Super League doesn’t close until Wednesday, but it appears that hopes to revive the deal with Jiangsu Suning have failed. So with three years left on his contract with Real Madrid, what can Gareth Bale do to make a success of the situation?

What went wrong at Real Madrid?

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Gareth Bale arrived at Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur after the Spanish club agreed to pay a world record transfer fee of £85 million. Whilst Bale’s arrival at the Bernabeu was announced with plenty of fanfare, the star suffered numerous injuries at the start of his career with Los Blancos.

However, he redeemed himself with the Real Madrid faithful by scoring an outrageous goal against rivals Barcelona in the 2014 Copa Del Ray Final, and his Champions League winning goal in extra time against Atletico Madrid seemed to make Bale one of the Real Madrid all-time greats.

But with multiple injuries during the 2016-17 season, and Real Madrid’s sudden loss of form last season, Bale has repeatedly found himself to be the scapegoat of the club’s problems. Real Madrid suffered from a relative shocker of a season last year with numerous managerial changes and Bale spending much of his time on the bench.

When Zidane was reinstated as head coach in March, Bale once again found himself falling out of favour. The pair have a famously rocky relationship with Zidane seeing Bale as being too individualistic, and Zidane’s decision not to include Bale in the squad for the pre-season friendly against Bayern Munich instantly revealed just how far things have deteriorated.

With goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois giving Bale the nickname ‘The Golfer’ as a result of the Welshman’s preference for teeing off rather than hanging out with his team-mates, it quickly became apparent that Bale was a loner at the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid’s fickle fans have also repeatedly booed Bale. The worst moment came when fans jeered Bale in March 2019 as a result of his disappointing form in their 1-0 home defeat to Barcelona. Plus with the star even being booed on their preseason tour of Canada earlier this month, it seems that Bale has earned himself very few friends amongst the Real Madrid faithful.

Will Zidane want to work with Bale next season?

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Although Bale has managed to score an impressive 78 goals in 155 appearances with Real Madrid, it seems that the ongoing conflict with Zidane is making it almost impossible for the star to find his place in the team.

Zidane is reportedly giving Bale the silent treatment at the moment and isn’t prepared to discuss the situation with the star. However, with the China deal falling through, the pair might have little option but to work on their fraught relationship.

This is especially so as Los Blancos have been hit by many big injury scares recently that means that Bale might get chance to prove himself once more. In particular, Marco Asensio suffered a nasty ligament injury in the pre-season game against Arsenal, and with the Spanish striker facing many months on the sidelines, Bale may have to be reintegrated into the side.

However, following Eden Hazard’s £88 million transfer to Real Madrid from Chelsea, it looks like Bale is going to have to work twice as hard to get a place in the team. Both players will be competing for a spot on the left wing, and whilst Bale is happy to play on the right, it remains to be seen whether Real Madrid’s manager and fans would want him to play at all.

50,000 Real Madrid fans turned up to welcome Hazard to the Bernabeu, and the young star is seen as being pivotal to transforming the club’s faded fortunes. This is in direct contrast to perceptions about Bale who is increasingly being seen as past his best and no longer worthy of his spot in the Real Madrid team.

Is a move to a European super club on the cards?

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Gareth Bale has only just turned 30 years old, and injuries permitting, there are still plenty of goals left in him. Although the transfer deal to Jiangsu Suning fell through, most sports fans will be relishing the prospect of seeing the Welshman playing top flight European football once more. So if Zidane is so keen to give Bale the boot, which clubs could be interested in signing the Welsh star?

Inter Milan – Serie A legends worth a look

Jiangsu Suning might not longer be signing Gareth Bale, but there are reports that the Welsh star might end up playing at the Chinese side’s sister-club Inter Milan. The Suning company is the majority shareholder in the legendary Italian side, and there is the slightly possibility that Bale could still sign with Jiangsu Suning, but then go on loan to Inter Milan.

It would be fascinating to see how Bale would fit in at Antonio Conte’s side, plus the prospect of Bale at Inter going head-to-head with Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus would certainly liven up next season’s Serie A. But with just hours until the Chinese transfer window closes, it seems highly unlikely that we will see the Welsh forward playing Serie A football next season.

Bayern Munich – Bundesliga icons out of the picture?

We recently suggested that Bayern Munich would be the perfect fit for player of Gareth Bale’s stature. After Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery left the Bundesliga club last year, the space has opened up for a player like Bale.

But while it would be amazing to see how the Welsh star would fit in alongside the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich’s head coach, Niko Kovac, has denied that Bale is a target for the club.

Manchester United – A dream option for Bale

Since the deal with Jiangsu Suning collapsed, it has been reported that a move to Manchester United would be a ‘dream’ for Gareth Bale. Moving to Old Trafford would probably mean a big pay cut for the Welsh star, and it remains to be seen whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer actually wants Bale in his team.

Despite this, Real Madrid have shown a big interest in signing Paul Pogba from Manchester United, and they will be unlikely to be able to do this if Bale stays at the Bernabeu. Solskjaer in turn has stated that there is room for quality players at Manchester United, and with the likes of Romelu Lukaku seemingly set for a move to either Inter Milan or Juventus, there could definitely be a place for Bale at Old Trafford.

A pivotal season for Real Madrid

Although Gareth Bale seems to be stuck in limbo at Real Madrid, the Spanish club will be keen to draw the line after a relatively disastrous 2018/19 season. This saw Los Blancos finishing third-place in La Liga behind Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, it was widely perceived as being the club’s worst season in recent times.

With a Champions League exit in the round of 16, a semi-final loss in the Copa del Rey, it was only a triumph in the FIFA Club World Cup that gave Real Madrid any kind of consolation. But Zidane has been quick to make amends with some big money signings such as Eden Hazard.

In addition to this, there are growing rumours that star players such as Paul Pogba or even Neymar could be set to join Los Blancos in the coming weeks. But with shocking results such as their 7-3 defeat by Atletico Madrid in the pre-season, it remains to be seen what can be done to help Real Madrid get back to their best.