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Will Gareth Bale Be Playing For Real Madrid Next Season?

If you’re not familiar with how European Soccer transfer rumors work, allow me to briefly enlighten you. It’s pretty simple actually, with libel laws in Europe nonexistent different from those in the United States, the media is essentially free to print whatever they’d like so long as they throw the world “rumor” around. What happens next is the media takes as many big names as they can, attaches them to a big name club like a Real Madrid, Manchester United, or a Bayern Munich, and throws as many of them against the wall until they find one that sticks.

What this means for the fan is you pretty much can’t believe a single thing that you read (especially from a Sunday paper, which is even more outlandish in an attempt to sell more papers). If any of these rumors were true then Manchester United would currently be starting Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba in central midfield, Ikay Gundogan would be joining this summer, and Wayne Rooney would have joined Manchester City long ago.

(Disclaimer: I’m the first to admit I’m a sucker for transfer rumors. I love them, I eat them up and totally buy into everything they say and without fail it always leads to me being let down during the transfer window. Keep that in mind as you read the rest.)

However, occasionally a blind squirrel finds a nut and a story doesn’t go away. Usually where there’s smoke there’s fire, and it looks like we may have found a story that actually makes sense. Gareth Bale could be on his way out of the Bernabeu.

To say Gareth Bale is having a tough time at the Bernabeu this season would be an understatement. Despite scoring 16 goals in all competitions (more then he scored in each season at Spurs except one), and helping lead Real Madrid to a Copa Del Ray and Champions League title in his first season with the club (don’t forget Cristiano Ronaldo was injured for much of the late stages of the season and was ineffective in the final, it was Bale who won it for them).

Bale has not only fallen out of favor with the Real Madrid fans, but he doesn’t seem to fit into the team on the pitch anymore. It’s gotten so bad that Bale’s car was attacked by Real fans following the club’s 2-1 loss to rivals Barcelona in last week’s ‘El Classico.’ Furthermore, in a poll conducted by ESPNFC 68.3% of Real Madrid fans believe that Bale should be benched.

SOCCER: JAN 07 Copa del Rey - Real Madrid at Atletico Madrid

Has Bale’s time with Real Madrid run its course?

 

Publicly, Real Madrid are keen to hold onto Bale, especially since they paid a world record transfer fee for him. Surely they wouldn’t want to see their prized investment flop after just two years, so they would either keep Bale or sell him for at least the same price they paid for him. Due to FIFA Fair Play rules, the list of clubs that can afford Bale is essentially down to either Manchester United or Manchester City.

The obvious candidate to take Bale is Manchester United. As previously mentioned, United are already very interested. United legend Paul Scholes recently devoted his entire column to talking about how would be a perfect fit at Old Trafford and could turn United back into title contenders. United also possess a big draw to get Bale, Louis van Gaal’s right hand man Ryan Giggs.

Ryan Giggs is perhaps the greatest Welsh footballer to ever play. Bale, like Giggs, is Welsh, and for years has been being labled “the next Ryan Giggs.” Now I’m not an expert on Welsh football, but it’s safe to say someone in Whales getting compared to Ryan Giggs is the equivalent of someone in America being called the next Michael Jordan. What better way for Bale to embrace that title then by continuing the legacy Giggs built by running down the left flank at Old Trafford for years to come?

With a true left wing in Gareth Bale, United would be able to start going back to playing a 4-4-2 formation similar to the way they played in the Sir Alex Ferguson glory years.

SOCCER: JAN 11 Premier League - Southampton at Manchester United

Does swapping di Maria to Real Madrid make sense?

 

There’s obviously one big problem in that United are already saddled with the under-performing and British transfer record Angel di Maria. United would likely need to sell di Maria to make room/afford Bale. Frankly, I would offer to send di Maria right back to Madrid where he would inherit his old place in the team, and be back in a league where he’s been known to shine. The change of scenery is a win-win for both clubs.

There’s another, and more likely scenario. Real Madrid are looking for a new goalkeeper. Manchester United have David de Gea, a Spaniard from Madrid who has become the best goalkeeper in the world. It’s no secret Real Madrid are after de Gea, who United have inexplicably failed to sign to a contract extention. There have long been rumors that Madrid have said any bid for Bale must include de Gea going the other way, but while that may very well end up being what goes down, it’s not in United’s best interest.

The truth is, United should simply offer to pay for Bale, and not a king’s ransom either. He’s not worth as much money as Real originally paid for him simply because if Real are selling him, it’s for one of three reasons: 1) he’s not fitting into the team and is no longer first choice 2) they are bringing in a player like Marco Rues or someone else to replace him, or 3) he wants to leave. The first two can easily lead to the third but either way, any of those scenarios bring Bale’s value down as he’s not one of their top players.

In the end these are all rumors, they can be completely false or, with plenty of time before the season ends there is plenty of time for Bale to turn things around in Madrid and win the fans back over. Odds are Bale will be wearing the white shirt of Los Blancos next season, but if there is unrest, Manchester United should step in and play hardball. You can offer Real Madrid Angel di Maria but David de Gea stays in Manchester, and Gareth Bale finally becomes the next Ryan Giggs, by taking over Giggs’ former position at Old Trafford.

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