The curious case of Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale is a phenomenal player. He broke Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2009 world record fee of €94 million with €100.8 million when he transferred from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid in 2013. Has he lived up to the hype? Many will say yes… he’s had some fine moments after all. Admirers of the sport will never forget his bicycle kick in the 2018 Champions League Final.

Or this legendary goal against Barcelona.

I’ll tell my grandchildren about these goals.

But ever since his transfer to Spain, Gareth has had a tougher opponent than Barcelona or Liverpool or any opponent across Europe.

It’s been himself. The first half of Bale’s initial Real Madrid season: out of his first 16 games, Bale missed five and was substituted in six others, playing only five full games due to injury.

Injuries from 2014 – 2017 would see him constantly struggle to cement his place in the starting IX.

As the 18-19 campaign will wrap in the upcoming weeks, Gareth is at a crossroads: He’s been booed by club supporters this season, Zidane has returned as the head coach, only 10 short months after leaving, and reports from Spain say Real are preparing to gather another set of galacticos. Add all three of those factors and if I were Bale, I’d be trading the white jersey for another color.

Likewise, if I were president of Real, this would be the ideal time to cash in on one of the original members of the “BBC”.

Recently a columnist from Diario AS, Santiago Segurola, thinks he never felt home in Spain – he points his finger to cultural barriers. Segurola sheds light on a recent interview with El Pais where Eleonora Giovio said, “He doesn’t speak Spanish. The interview was done in English. He was doing a commercial. I was there with him for three hours, and the only word in Spanish I heard him say was hola.”

Assimilation to the country your playing in is very important. Not only does the player have to eventually feel comfortable with language and the culture, but many have kids, a wife, and family members they bring along.

Gareth Bale was a Tottenham Player from 2007-2013, scoring 42 goals in 146 appearances. Photo from SB Nation.

Ahhh, good ol’ Gareth Bale. This summer will be a pivotal moment for his career indeed. Cue The Clash! “Should he stay or should he go now?” Let’s talk possible destinations.

Chinese Premier League

Let’s be real. You really can’t laugh this off anymore. Chinese club owners have never ending Lannister money (for you non-Game of Thrones fans… they’re rich). With a recent wave of European players heading to China for a hefty pay day and sub-par futbol, this is a real possibility. Current stars in China: David Villa, Andres Iniesta, Oscar, Yannick Carrasco, Mousa Dembele, Maroune Fellaini, Marik Hamsik, to name a few.

Major League Soccer

I would probably have Bale going to a Chinese super club over moving to the states simply because there’s still a lot of reluctance in spending mula on players. The league still essentially handles all transactions, so no individual club can buy Bale even if they wanted too. Because of this league wide cap, I’m ruling this one out for now. Wouldn’t be surprised if he comes over in the 32 years old range, though.

Serie A

Juventus would be the only real contender here. However, seeing as The Oldy Lady signed a 33-year-old Ronaldo to win them a Champions League Trophy (lol), will they go out of their way to sign Bale for reinforcements? Would it be worth playing him over Dybala or Moise Kean? I also don’t think he’d want to be under Ronaldo’s shadow again. It’s a nay from me, dog.

A young Ajax team beat Juventus 3-2 on aggregate in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Photo from Fox Sports

Bundesliga

Could Bayern use a player of Bale’s caliber deployed on the wings? Absolutely. But with Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben emptying whatever they have left in their tanks, I don’t see Bayern chasing a soon to be 30-year-old player just to be causing the same issue for the club in a two year span. Reports are claiming Bayern will be focusing on acquiring some young talent for the time being.

Don’t expect Dormunt to come calling either. Purchasing Bale would be against the grain here. They like their youth.

La Liga

Three things to talk about here:

  1. Do not expect Barcelona nor Athletico to throw a mountain of cash (rumored to be 100 million euros) towards Real for Bale’s services.
  2. However, the longer Real waits to sell him, the lower that value will drop.
  3. Staying put at Madrid is a complete possibility for Bale. How that will impact Real’s summer moves will be seen in the future. Can you risk having Bale stay instead of going after Hazard, Mane, Pogba?

Premier League

Photo from Sky Sports

Rumors are HEATING up around this puppy. Reports of Pogba falling out with Ole Solksjaer and his overall mood towards Man U (and praise towards Zidane) have risen since their Champions League exit and links with Juventus and Real have only solidified.

Reports are also indicating Chelsea have now entered the conversation for a potential loan move for the Welsh international since forward Eden Hazard will most likely leave Stamford Bridge at the end of this season.

However this Gareth Bale drama plays out, I’m willing to bet my middle school allowance he moves to the Premier. There’s always a chance for a homecoming at Tottenham, too. Where ever he decides to go, make no mistake – Gareth Bale still can contribute to any team in the world.

Where do you think he’ll end up? Tweet at us! @789mediaco!

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Andy Moran

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