Gareth Bale is the perfect fit for Manchester United: Paul Scholes
For any footballer who plays for Real Madrid in the modern era, the prospect of leaving the club must feel like a step down, no matter where they go - but it does not have to be like that.
When it comes to Gareth Bale's career, it looks like he is approaching a decision that will potentially shape the rest of his life as a footballer.
I watched El Clasico on Sunday and it was clear to see that Bale was having a hard time of it.
The reaction to the defeat to Barcelona and the stick that he has received from the Spanish media and some fans will only make it more difficult.
He had a great first season, winning the Champions League and Copa del Rey, as well as scoring on both finals and I admire his determination to fight for his place in the most competitive squad in world football.
I get the impression that the only way Bale is going to leave Madrid is if the club tell him to go.
As their record signing, he may yet believe that the time for that is a long way off, but we have seen them do it with some big names in recent years, including Mesut Özil and Angel Di Maria.
My feeling is that he would be perfect for Manchester United.
Of course, as a fan of my former club I would like to see him there but, looking at it objectively, I always felt that Bale was a natural fit for United as he developed at Tottenham from a left-back into one of the best attacking footballers in the country.
He would be loved at Old Trafford.
In return I believe he could turn Louis van Gaal's team into serious title contenders next season.
In my years at United I witnessed some signings who, over the course of their careers, transformed the fortunes of the team. From Eric Cantona when I was an apprentice, to Dwight Yorke, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney.
These were great footballers who became great United players and Bale has the potential to make as much of an impact as any of them.
The key thing is that all good players need to be appreciated.
Bale would be coming to United in a time of change and when the team is looking for leaders.
Real Madrid will always be in a state of upheaval, with new presidents and a fresh intake of players each summer. At United there has also been great change in the past 22 months, but the club is trying to move towards stability in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
On Sunday I thought Madrid played extremely well in the first half.
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos controlled the game in a way that we've never seen from opposition teams at the Nou Camp in the past 10 years.
They created chances too, but then, after conceding the second goal, they just seemed to run out of ideas.
Out in the wide position, Bale did not look like a happy bunny.
I can understand why he would want to see out his time at Madrid, but even if he was to leave after two years, no one could say that, having won a Champions League title, his time there has been a failure.
He has never won anything in English football and he would be hungry for success in this country.
He is a phenomenal footballer who comes ready-made for the Premier League.