After a spectacular season with Tottenham, Gareth Bale is currently one of the hottest players in Europe. However, combined with Tottenham’s failure to qualify for the Champions League, Bale’s form has caused him to be the focus of much speculation heading into the transfer window’s official opening on July the 1st.
If you are to believe the gossip sections in various newspapers and websites, many teams from across Europe are enticed by Bale. Many claim Real Madrid, who are undergoing somewhat of a summer overhaul, are in for him, while Manchester United, PSG and even the mighty Barcelona have been mentioned as possible destinations for the versatile winger. Not bad for a man who was being linked with a £3 million move to Birmingham City just 3 and a half years ago, eh?
So assuming all the aforementioned clubs are looking at Bale, where should he go? It doesn’t have to be this summer, but unless Tottenham get some serious investment and begin to challenge for first place rather than just fourth place year on year, I think Bale will be ignoring his potential by staying at the North London outfit.
PSG supposedly want Arsene Wenger as their manager for the 2014/15 season, but as for this upcoming season, they are in transition and it remains unclear as to who will manage them. Lucas Moura, Ezequiel Lavezzi and even Maxwell all play in Bale’s best positions and another winger should not be their priority. Plus, in terms of fan base and all round club size, I am not sure PSG would really be a major step up for Bale.
Of course, there will be those who think as Bale is British and knows the English game, Manchester United would be the ideal place for him to go. The dismal seasons endured by Nani, Valencia and to a lesser extent; Ashley Young, suggest Bale would easily slot into the Manchester United lineup, while the prospect of him, Shinji Kagawa, Wayne Rooney (assuming he stays) and Wilfred Zaha providing for Van Persie, Welbeck, and Hernandez, could well put United back at the very top of European football.
However, Bale can light up the Champions league at any of the supposedly interested clubs and he has little more to prove in the Premier League. Manchester United tend to buy young British players such as Zaha, Jones, Young, Rooney, Carrick and others, and are expected to continue to do so under Moyes, but with a central midfielder a priority, I do not think it’s worth the Red Devils spending a huge amount of money on Bale.
After Bale’s memorable breakout performance against Inter Milan in the Champions League in late 2010, rumours began to surface of potential interest from FC Barcelona. Some claim the Catalan side are still keeping an eye on Bale, but due to the signing of Jordi Alba last summer, and the signing of Neymar this summer, I see no place for Bale in this current Barca team. Manchester City have also strengthened in a position that would have been Bale’s, due to the signing of Jesus Navas from Sevilla.
Although I personally believe Bale is better than Navas, I think signing Bale would cause real dilemmas for Pellegrini, as Bale, Silva, Nasri, Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas would all feel as if they should start every game and that wouldn’t work. They have enough there as it is.
So that leaves the mighty Real Madrid. A huge club, and under presumed manager Carlo Ancelotti, I feel going to Madrid would enable Bale to flourish. Energetic, albeit solid and aggressive teams have become the trademark of the Italian, who has won the league in Italy, England and most recently France, as well as having won the Champions League with Milan on two occasions.
As I write this, it appears as if Isco is going to join Los Blancos, which will add to Madrid’s attacking options, but as Isco is a central player this shouldn’t be a sign that they will wait until next summer to swoop for Bale as many expect.
A powerful winger isn’t quite what Madrid need as such, what with Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria in the squad already, but with Fabio Coentrao expected to leave in the summer and with Marcelo injury prone, Bale adds versatility and is the sort of player Ancelotti likes. It doesn’t matter where Bale plays, he can still be highly effective.
Bale is in a situation that is fairly unique to most of the world’s best players; he doesn’t play for a major team at international level, with Wales 45th in the current FIFA world rankings, and haven’t qualified for a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup. Because of this, next season when the World Cup happens, Bale will likely not have the opportunity to impress in what club teams call “the world’s largest shopping window”.
So, if Madrid do not seriously go towards signing Bale this summer, the Welshman must really impress in the Premier League and Europa League in order to keep the interest of Madrid, a club who could have almost any player they desired. 2013/14 could really determine the success of Bale’s career and the fulfillment of his potential. No pressure then.
For now though, Tottenham remain adamant that they will not sell Bale, with manager Andre Villas Boas claiming last week that chairman Daniel Levy has assured him that Bale will remain at the club for the upcoming season.
Some reports claim Tottenham will only sell Bale for the astronomical fee of £85 million, and Bale has not been quoted as saying he wants out, unlike Luis Suarez, who is also supposedly on Madrid’s congested radar. However, talk of interest from various powerhouses of world football must excite Bale who turns 24 later this year.
To be honest, I feel loyalty must end somewhere for Bale, let’s just see how far it can stretch.
Written by Joshua Sodergren
Follow Joshua on Twitter @chelseasalad365
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