Reports from ESPN have suggested, contrary to his agent’s statement, that Gareth Bale will be on his way out of Real Madrid this summer.
A return to the Premier League could be the prime destination for the Welshman, with Manchester United and Tottenham both potential suitors, according to former Spurs man Rafael Van der Vaart
After joining for a record transfer fee from Tottenham in deal worth over €100 million in 2013, he has had an extremely successful period at Madrid so far, becoming the most successful British footballer on the continent.
In 222 games, Bale has scored 101 goals and registered 63 assists, alongside winning the UEFA Champions League on four occasions. However, in more recent times, he has been struggling to get sustained game-time at the Bernabéu.
For the club’s record signing, it is not a good sign in the slightest. This season Madrid have seen two managers in Lopetegui and Solari; the former had faith in Bale but Solari has not shown the same trust.
While Lopetegui had an atrocious stint that was clearly marred by his firing from the Spanish national team, his troubled time at Madrid seemed to trickle down into Bale’s form (and the rest of them for that matter). For Solari, his priority was to introduce the new wave of Galacticos at the club.
This was in the direct aftermath of a Lopetegui period of youngster refusal. Only under Solari have Vinicius Jr. and Vazquez seen more minutes on the pitch but it has all been due to the demise of Bale. The current Solari era has resulted in a troubled Welsh winger who could easily walk into another high profile club.
In addition, there has been wide coverage in the Spanish tabloids of what Bale’s teammates think about him. From Courtois referring to him as the ‘golfer’ to Marcelo suggesting he is a bit of a recluse in the changing room all make for bad reading.
In fact, reports even emerged that the players asked the club president to allow him to leave. In the modern game where footballers have more power than ever, it seems increasingly likely that not only is Bale not enjoying Madrid anymore, but his days are ultimately numbered in the Spanish capital.
The stakes could not be higher at the moment for Bale and the pressure has evidently got to him.
His most recent goal against Levante led him to shrug off his teammates in celebration, expressing more anger than ecstasy. But his agent has insisted he is happy at Madrid. Speaking to the fansite Madridista Real, he said “Bale is very happy at Real Madrid and Real Madrid is very happy with Bale”.
Despite the current lull he finds himself in, it is important to revisit the many talents and to show what United and Spurs could be gaining.
All fans of English football will remember his solo runs against Inter Milan and scoring outside the box for fun in the league. But nothing was more stunning than his swerving and bending free kicks. Single-handedly winning matches for Spurs seemed like a pastime for him at one stage and only glimpses of that heroic form were ever seen again when he moved to the Bernabeu.
Yet, perhaps if he was restored once more as the pivotal role in a team and not overshadowed by players like Ronaldo, Modric and Rodriguez, he may find the form worthy of his (presumably still) large price tag.
Not only does the constant chatter behind his back spell trouble within Madrid but the Welshman has shown a stubborn disregard for learning Spanish and is seemingly on the periphery of Solari’s current squad.
The decline in Bale’s performances since the heights of THAT goal in the Copa Del Rey against Barcelona (where he was forced off the pitch but still ran the entire half to score) has been a slow one. But it is ultimately impossible to ignore how injuries have played such a hugely detrimental role during his time in Spain.
According to transfermarkt.com, Bale has missed 70 games due to injuries. While predominantly it has been due to calf issues, there have been other injuries that have added to the total. His worst being an ankle injury which kept him out of action for over 80 days in the 16/17 season. This intermittent playing time has no doubt stunted his otherwise impressive period at Madrid.
Regardless of the injury problems he has had, the ageing Welshman will undoubtedly be seeking the best chance to spend the last few years of his career on a high. The Premier League could easily offer that. Bale is a multi Champions League winning player and thus has incredible experience to bring to any team looking to win trophies.