Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale has been linked with an astonishing return to the Premier League – into just his second season at the Santiago Bernabeu – with Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City reportedly set for a three-way transfer battle at the end of the season.
Former Red Devils captain and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has discussed the possibility of Bale exiting Madrid, and believes that there’s one club who -if they land the Welsh Wizard in the summer – could be unstoppable for years.
Neville, speaking to Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, has warned England’s top flight to be fearful of Jose Mourinho’s Premier League champions clinching a deal for Bale, as it could signal a period of sheer dominance for seasons to come from the Blues.
“There’s one player touted about possibly coming available this summer, and that’s Bale,” the 40-year-old said.
“The talk is he’s going to go to one of Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea,” he added.
“If he becomes available, if Chelsea win that battle, and say they lost Oscar or Ramires and got him for a net cost of £25million, I think the other teams are in trouble for the next few years, I really do.”
What with boos ringing out at the Santiago Bernabeu, an on-field relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo failing to flourish, and his confidence having taken an inevitable hit as a result, Bale has struggled in his second La Liga season.
The 25-year-old was heavily criticised for his performance – or lack thereof – in the first-leg of Real’s Champions League semi-final tie versus Juventus on Tuesday night; after his impact was blasted, as he made just 18 passes all game, had 32 touches (both less than goalkeeper Iker Casillas), and failed to register a single shot on or off target.
The Mirror even ran a headline reading: ‘Did Gareth Bale play against Juventus?’
It seems that whenever Carlo Ancelotti and his side suffer a poor result, the Wales international has become the fall guy – an easy scapegoat for the Spanish press to latch onto.
It mustn’t be forgotten that this is a player who helped the club clinch the Copa del Rey and the Champions League – in which he scored in both finals, during his first season in Madrid, and he certainly deserves more respect from his so-called supporters.
The prospect of the world’s most expensive player leaving the Spanish giants – having only signed a six-year deal in September 2013 after Tottenham Hotspur and Real reached an incredible £85.3m deal – seems rather farfetched.
What’s more, it seems hard to envisage Bale giving up on his Los Blancos dream so soon. Let’s not forget that at the time he left Spurs, his incredible performances could have seen him join any club in the world – and he chose Real Madrid.
Manchester United, according to the Express, were in the hunt for the winger following David Moyes’ appointment that summer, and could comfortably have financed a deal – and perhaps have even offered closer to £100m – yet Bale was unmoved by the interest from Tottenham’s English rivals. He wanted to fulfil a dream of playing for the Spanish giants.
Nonetheless, it must sadly not also be dismissed that money certainly does the talking in football, and there is little out of the realms of possibility when it comes to football transfers.
Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City know that the signing of the Welsh star, as Gary Neville discussed, would result in fear etched on the faces of their rivals.
Perhaps we could very well be welcoming the return of the former White Hart Lane star to the Premier League, even if it does seem farcical. And – while heavily criticised in Spain – there will be very few who wouldn’t be excited at the thought of seeing the winger in action in our prestigious top flight again.