Real Madrid must take a leaf from Barcelona’s book in moving on big-money stars… Gareth Bale wants to return to the Premier League but Spanish giants need to make the Welshman’s exit work financially
For as long as there have been suggestions that Gareth Bale could move from Real Madrid back to the Premier League there have been rebuttals from those close to him – it’s not going to happen because he doesn’t want it to.
Since the end of last season the knockbacks have continued but the reasoning has begun to change – it’s not going to happen because no one will pay Real Madrid the money to sign him.
‘He doesn’t want to’, has become ‘he can’t’.
For the first time, Gareth Bale says he wants to make a return to the Premier League
The Welshman told Sky Sports that he would consider a return as he seeks a Real Madrid exit
When Bale spoke to Sky Sports on Wales duty on Wednesday he appeared to confirm that his staying at Real Madrid is no longer about his desire to see out the two years left on his contract. Now it’s more a question of Madrid’s refusal to help him leave.
They blocked his exit out of the club last summer when he had agreed to become the flagship foreign footballer of the China Super League. China seems to have waned as an option, but Asia’s loss could be the Premier League’s gain, if Madrid help make it happen.
When Bale sat down with Sportsmail for an interview in September 2017 he was asked about the possibility of going back to Spurs one day. He opted, politely, not to answer. Whatever he said he felt he would be compromised both with Madrid fans and Tottenham supporters.
The 31-year-old has endured a frosty season with the club who denied him a move last summer
Bale wants to leave, but the issue is whether any suitors can afford to meet Madrid’s valuation
Tottenham coach Jose Mourinho is the man who pushed most publicly to sign Bale when he was Manchester United manager. Spurs, among other clubs, will be watching over the coming days to see just how determined Real Madrid are to reduce their wage bill in times of post-pandemic financial crisis.
Will they follow Barcelona’s lead by helping high-earning players on their way?
Barcelona have just allowed Ivan Rakitic to join Sevilla for an initial fee of just £1.3million. They have also told Luis Suarez he can go on a free-transfer although they are still arguing over paying the £13.4m net he is due from the final year of his contract.
And Arturo Vidal also seems to be heading for the exit on a cheap transfer.
Los Blancos should take a leaf from Barcelona’s book in helping move on high-earning stars
Barcelona have sold Ivan Rakitic and are looking to move on star striker Luis Suarez (pictured)
Bale is different. He has two years left, earns £15.2m-net-a-season and, as Sportsmail reported on Thursday, Real Madrid have little appetite for negotiating his remaining two years.
Marca have reported that Real Madrid want a meeting with Bale’s representatives from Stellar Group but there is nothing set in stone yet and any coming together will have to be instigated by the Spanish club.
Real Madrid have a huge wage bill and the prospect of tumbling revenue going into next season still with no supporters in the stadium, no tours to North America or Asia on the horizon, and no football tourism.
They need to sell Bale more than he needs to leave. Although even regards the question ‘who needs it more?’ the dynamic has altered slightly.
Jose Mourinho is an admirer of Bale’s and tried to sign him when he was at Manchester United
Bale opted not to travel to the Champions League last-16 second leg against Manchester City last month, such was his conviction that Zinedine Zidane would not be picking him, or using him as a substitute, regardless of the circumstances of the game.
He has a Euros next summer – probably his last – and going an entire season without playing would not be the right preparation.
Madrid’s urgency to get rid of Bale has diminished slightly with the likely departure of James Rodríguez to Everton but he remains an expensive squad player they can ill-afford.
Bale has spoken fondly of his time at Tottenham Hotspur and said it was where he ‘grew up’
In that interview in 2017 he said that Tottenham was where he ‘grew up’ as a player.
‘I have a lot of great memories from my time there; some not so great as well but it was a big part of my journey. I love the club and still keep in touch with a lot of people there and the fans were incredible. I really enjoyed playing in those big European nights at White Hart Lane,’ he said.
There would be no Champions League and no White Hart Lane if he goes back but he has opened the door to going there, or somewhere that will take him away from the Madrid bench.
Madrid’s willingness to make it work financially will be key. It remains difficult to pull-off but as his comments to Sky Sports: ‘If those options arise (interest from Premier League clubs) it is something I’d look at for sure,’ show, he is no longer the biggest obstacle to it happening.
Ultimately, Madrid’s willingness to make Bale’s exit work financially will be the key to his future