Gareth Bale’s role as an unused substitute in Real Madrid’s final LaLiga game of the season has intensified speculation over his future.
Zinedine Zidane’s vision for the Spanish giants clearly does not include Bale, who did not acknowledge the Bernabeu fans after remaining in the dugout during their 2-0 home defeat to Real Betis.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at possible destinations for one of the world’s most expensive players.
Manchester United are one of the few clubs capable of offering Bale salvation. Their fans are yearning for a new talisman to lift them out of their mediocrity and the LaLiga mis-fit would surely jump at the chance of taking centre stage back in the Premier League. If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can move on Alexis Sanchez and free-up his £500,000-a-week wages, Bale’s reported £600,000-a-week package would be affordable. His arrival as United’s marquee summer signing would help lift the gloom at Old Trafford. But their owners might need some convincing that the 29-year-old would represent value for money.
The prospect of Bale back in a Tottenham shirt marauding down the flanks at their new stadium carries huge appeal for most Spurs fans. What better way to keep anticipation at fever pitch in August after the club’s stellar season than to welcome back a returning hero? There would be obstacles however. Bale’s salary dwarfs that of top earner Harry Kane, while the future of manager Mauricio Pochettino is also up in the air following speculation he might bow out on a high should he lead the Londoners to Champions League glory against Liverpool on June 1.
Qatar-owned Paris St Germain are accustomed to laying out vast sums for the world’s best players in pursuit of the Champions League trophy they crave, but they could recoup a fortune this summer by off-loading other superstars. Real have been linked with a double swoop for Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, with the former reported to be ready to return to Spain after a disappointing spell in the French capital. The rumour mill in Spain suggests PSG have responded by targeting Real duo Isco and Bale. If Zidane has his heart set on Neymar, that could offer a way out for the Wales international.
Juventus have maintained their iron grip on Italian football with a record-extending eighth consecutive Serie A title, but like PSG a true measure of their success is gauged in the Champions League. They have lost in five finals since last winning it in 1996 and their move for Cristiano Ronaldo last summer made clear their intentions. The Old Lady have committed £400,000 a week over four years to add former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey to their squad and that could help entice his compatriot to join him in Turin – although whether Bale would want to be reunited with former Madrid team-mate Ronaldo is another matter.
Bale, signed by Real for a then world record fee of £85million in 2013, extended his contract with the Spanish giants until 2022 in 2016. His weekly earnings are a stumbling block for any prospective move away from the club and despite not receiving any guarantees over his future by Zidane and his deteriorating relationship with the fans, the Welshman could opt to sit it out at the Bernabeu. Any club interested in signing the forward would surely investigate the chances of taking him on loan and contributing to his wages rather than laying out a fortune for a player of his age and with his injury record.