The news hasn’t sat well with the entirety of the Old Trafford faithful, especially those who fear losing talismanic goalkeeper David De Gea in part of a complex swap deal.
But we at Football FanCast view the Welsh Wizard as an integral target for the Red Devils, blessed with the quality and star factor they should be searching for this summer.
And with that in mind, we’ve come up with FIVE reasons United should pay whatever the price to sign the 25 year-old ahead of next season.
So, without further ado…
Do Manchester United need another winger? In my opinion, desperately.
The Red Devils have spent fortunes improving their attacking cast over the last three transfer windows, signing the likes of Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao, but the current United side lacks the pace, penetration and prolific counter-attacking ability of its many trophy-laded forbearers.
Perhaps more importantly, acquiring a wide-man in the summer would likely end the days of United’s much-maligned 3-5-2 system under Louis van Gaal. Right now, the Dutchman isn’t privy to the right selection of players to be utilising a 4-3-3 regularly and whilst Di Maria and Ashley Young have both impressed on the left this term, there’s still a major hole on the opposite flank that Gareth Bale would more than fill.
The Old Trafford outfit are just a few summer signings away from possessing a starting Xi on par with Manchester City and Chelsea’s, but a right winger, even if it’s not the welsh wizard, must be one of them.
Don’t be fooled Manchester United fans – this isn’t another whimsical pipedream of the ‘Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford’ variety.
Despite splashing out a record-breaking £86million on the Welsh international just two summers ago, Real Madrid are likely to sell Gareth Bale for anything that exceeds their original investment, giving them considerably more room for manoeuvre in the transfer market under UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
Not least because, Los Blancos go through world-class stars quicker than Susan Boyle does Happy Meals; a direct consequence of the European champions’ ‘Galacticos’ policy – ensuring they sign the trendiest talents in world football every season – and their populistic presidential system.
Real Madrid are already believed to be the front-runners for the signature of Borussia Dortmund star Marco Reus, who constitutes a more than acceptable (and significantly cheaper) Gareth Bale replacement at just £20million.
Signings from La Liga can often come with huge risk – take how badly Mesut Oil has struggled to adapt at Arsenal for example.
But Gareth Bale is more than proven in the Premier League from his six-season spell with Tottenham Hotspur, eventually leaving the club with a return of 42 goals from 146 appearances in the English top flight.
Of course, that includes the 21 Premier League goals of his ultimate campaign at White Hart Lane, which also saw the Welsh winger claim the PFA Young Player of the Year, PFA Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year awards.
So although Bale might come with an enormous transfer fee, the risk of him not playing well upon his Premier League return is rather slight when compared to some of the foreign winger targets reported to be on United’s radar, such as Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado.
Having already won places in three Premier League Teams of the Year, a Copa del Rey and last season’s Champions League title, you’d be forgiven for forgetting Gareth Bale is still just 25 years of age.
Indeed, the prolific winger still has a good five years ahead of him at top level and although Manchester United might have to pay untold fortunes for his services, they’d be getting an attacker on the verge of reaching his footballing peak.
We’ve already witnessed Bale’s world-class capabilities over the last two campaigns, netting over twenty goals in a season for both Spurs and Real Madrid. If United can ensure that firepower for the remainder of the winger’s best years, they’ll consistently compete at the top end of the Premier League table.
Manchester United have already sought to make a few statements in the transfer market since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in summer 2013, particularly their then-club record £37million move for Juan Mata last January, their £30million acquisition of Luke Shaw (a world record for a full-back) and of course, their £60million swoop of Angel Di Maria, blowing all previous British transfer records out of the water.
But nothing suggests genuine intent more than investing a world-record sum in one of the leading talents in the sport today. Even if Bale’s United career doesn’t hit the heights expected, the sheer scale of his arrival at Old Trafford will have the title rivals running scared – and likely even panic buying in an attempt to compete in the transfer market.
The psychological impact of this cannot be overstated; just as it will leave Chelsea and Manchester City trembling with fear, a mega-bid for Gareth Bale will also send a clear message to United’s players that it’s time to deliver on all that talent.