Manchester United, it seems, are definitely not in the running to clinch the transfer of Gareth Bale this summer despite the door being open for him to leave Real Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane could not have been any clearer in his quotes to BBC Sport, as he stated Bale was left out of his latest line up due to the club working on getting rid of him, something he hopes can be done as quickly as possible.
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The French tactician even went on to stress that this is nothing personal – whether that’s true or not, it doesn’t seem particularly convincing, and Bale will now surely be a player with a point to prove.
Although the Daily Mirror linked Man Utd with an interest in a loan move for the Wales international earlier in the summer, this never materialised, and the Manchester Evening News now claim there’s no interest from the Red Devils at all.
Understandably, that MEN piece claims Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prioritising young players instead, having so far signed two 21-year-olds in Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.
Bale, meanwhile, is 30 and has a dodgy recent record with injuries, whilst also failing to ever really live up to high expectations at the Bernabeu.
Does this mean the end of his top-level career? The player himself doesn’t necessarily seem to think so, as Sport cite Spanish radio station Cadena SER as stating he’s not keen on a move to China in what could prove a very significant development in the saga.
The report goes on to say there is no interest anywhere in Europe, but whether it’s a loan or a permanent move (which would cost around £72m, according to ESPN), it’s hard to see why United are not putting themselves in contention for this transfer.
The struggles of the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard are well-documented, with Bale surely still a considerable upgrade even if he is no longer at his peak. MUFC have notably benefited from relatively short-term deals for veterans in the past, with Eric Cantona the best example, followed later by the likes of Robin van Persie and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Of course, the deal may currently be a tad expensive, but if there’s any room for negotiation, United are surely rich enough to afford this big-name attacker who’d no doubt lift the mood of the playing squad and the fans at Old Trafford.
After being forced out by Zidane, Bale should be hungry to show he can still do it at this level, while a return to the Premier League – the setting for arguably the best form of his career during his Tottenham days – could be ideal to revive his career.
The signings have not exactly been flowing in smoothly at United this summer, but in the case of Bale there is a genuine world class talent that a club can’t wait to get rid of, and that no one else wants.
It’s a gamble, but at the moment it looks like United surely have more to lose from not taking it.