As a two-time La Liga champion and four-time UEFA Champions League winner, there aren’t many benchwarmers in the football world with the resume of Gareth Bale. The Welsh winger has enjoyed plenty of success with Real Madrid since joining the club back in the summer of 2013. His relationship with Los Blancos in the next seven years, though, has been anything but smooth, getting increasingly strained with each passing season.
A very public falling out with manager Zinedine Zidane and criticism from fans haven’t made things much easier either. However, a big obstacle in the way of his exit from the club is his massive wage that not many clubs in the world can afford. That said, there are still a few clubs across the globe that can offer Bale a way out of Madrid and here we have a look at a some of those options.
Chinese Super League clubs
In recent years, several top players have moved to the Chinese Super League clubs. Blessed with the financial muscle to entice players to come and play in Asia, Paulinho, Oscar, Axel Witsel, Alex Teixeira, Odion Ighalo and Carlos Tevez are some of the names that have made the leap from Europe to a Chinese Super League outfit in the recent past. Bale himself almost made to the move to the cash-rich shores of China last year when Jiangsu Suning were reportedly ready to offer him an eye-watering figure of £1m-a-week to represent them. However, injuries to Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio led to a collapse of the deal but there’s no reason why any Chinese outfit can’t rekindle their interest in Bale, with him clearly not a part of Zidane’s plans for the upcoming campaign.
Manchester United’s interest in Bale is perhaps one of football’s worse kept secrets. The Red Devils expressed interest in the Welsh wizard when he moved to Los Blancos in 2013 and have keenly monitored his progress since. United, in fact, had made their interest known to Real on more than one occasion over the years and have the financial strength to keep him on their books. That said, a 31-year-old Bale may not appeal to United anymore, especially with the club clearly focusing all their transfer efforts on another talented – and younger – winger in Jadon Sancho. One way that Bale could make an unlikely move to Old Trafford, though, is if a deal for Sancho failed to materialise, making the Welsh superstar a worthy albeit short-term alternative.
Another one of Europe’s heavyweights that can afford Bale’s massive wages, Paris Saint-Germain are already stacked with superstars. The likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria already form a formidable attacking trident. Constant speculation linking Neymar and Mbappe to Europe’s more established elite clubs, however, could help pave the way for a Bale transfer to Paris in the future. With a squad brimming with talent across all areas of the pitch and capable of challenging for top honours in Europe, PSG is perhaps the best option for the Welshman as he approaches the twilight of his career. Whether or not the situation ever arises for Paris to sign Bale remains to be seen but the 31-year-old will know that the Parisian club can afford him while also offering him a chance to play at a high level and challenge for top honours.
A more emotional rather than calculated move could see Bale enjoy a homecoming by returning to the club that sold him to Madrid. While at Tottenham Hotspur, Bale became one of the hottest prospects in Europe and tormented defences in the Premier League with blistering pace and venomous shots. He was the Premier League Player of the Season in his last campaign with the club and will undoubtedly feel the warmth of playing in front of his old fans should he decide to return to White Hart Lane. A major obstacle for this to happen, though, will be his massive wage, meaning a voluntary pay-cut would be the only way for Bale to return to the place where he became a household name in the football world.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Pierre-Philippe Marcou
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