ESPN pundit Paul Marriner has suggested that he believes Chelsea are better placed than Man Utd to bring Gareth Bale back to the Premier League.
The 28-year-old has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell with Real Madrid since joining the Spanish giants in 2013, winning three Champions League trophies, a La Liga title and two FIFA Club World Cups.
Bale has scored 79 goals in 179 appearances, but injuries have been an ongoing issue for the Welshman as the number of games he’s played each season has dropped from 40+ in his first two campaigns at the Bernabeu to 31 and below in the last two years and this campaign so far.
In turn, with speculation seemingly never far away when it comes to his future, Marriner has put forward a potential idea that would see him swap Madrid for London, joining Chelsea with Real Madrid target Eden Hazard moving in the opposite direction.
“I can’t see it [a move to United]. I really can’t,” he told ESPN, as quoted by The Express. “If Gareth [Bale] leaves Real Madrid, then I think something could happen with Chelsea and Eden [Hazard].”
Although it’s difficult to see Chelsea being convinced to part with Hazard such has been the Belgian’s influence at Stamford Bridge, Marriner makes a sensible suggestion in so far as that it could be a deal that suits all parties.
As noted by the Express, Hazard is wanted by Madrid president Florentino Perez, Bale could be a direct and immediate replacement for him at Chelsea, and the two players arguably get the moves that will suit their respective careers in the position that they’re currently in.
It is undoubtedly still quite an ambitious deal and so it remains to be seen if it does materialise as money may also be involved, but as far as United are concerned, it seems illogical to add more competition for places in that area of the squad.
Jose Mourinho already has Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez battling for places behind Romelu Lukaku, while there are other areas of his squad that potentially need addressing such as the midfield with Michael Carrick retiring and Marouane Fellaini on an expiring contract.
In that sense, Marriner is arguably right to rule out a move to Old Trafford.