Manchester United should stop wasting their time in the unrealistic pursuit of Gareth Bale.
The Real Madrid winger is a signing that is simply out of United’s reach, a phrase rarely heard in the Sir Alex Ferguson era. However, United fans must accept the changes since Fergie’s departure, and the reality that now faces. Though, more importantly, United’s staff must do the same.
Ed Woodward is most guilty of this, continuing to stoke the rumour mill concerning Bale being part of his plan for United to spend their way out of trouble. This season, which sees United level on points compared to last term after 22 League games, despite spending £145million, suggests even the biggest spending cannot guarantee results.
United’s chief executive is also chasing Bale on a commercial basis, seeking to recruit a global icon in a statement of intent that the red Devils are still the world biggest club. Woodward has a strong record in managing United’s finances, securing record training kit and shirt sponsorship deals whilst amassing an array of profitable partnerships.
Bale arriving at United is thought by Woodward to be no different to these commercial deals in terms of history, stature and tradition making the club an easy sale. But the reality is somewhat different.
Woodward is a good salesman, but ultimately player targets like Bale will look for on-field matters too. Madrid have 10 European cups to United’s two, including Bale scoring as they completed La Decima last season, already establishing himself as a true Galactico.
Whilst United still appear a significant transfer away from winning yet another domestic title, Madrid appear quite the opposite. United might have the most fans, but purely on a football basis they are certainly no longer the world’s biggest club. Woodward thinks United are the world’s biggest sports team, but the Gareth Bale saga proves United are not as they think they are.
This will be the second time United has tried and failed to get Bale, after their pursuit in the summer of 2013, when a late bid turned Levy’s head. However, Woodward saw it as a pure business deal, and forgot that Bale as a human being was already set on his foreign adventure.
Bale turned down United then, and the gulf between themselves and Madrid has widened greatly since. Despite their promising start it is still not even a guarantee that United will re-gain their Champions League spot this season. Why on earth would Bale take that risk?
Understandably, and quite rightly, Bale himself is loving life at Madrid: “I am very happy in Madrid, a city, a climate and a club that I love.
“My contract ends in 2019, and I could sign a renewal. I wanted to come to Real Madrid to win titles and work alongside the best players and that is exactly what I have done in a single year.”
Even if this transfer was at all a realistic possibility from Bale’s viewpoint, the presence of Florentino Perez would extinguish this. Madrid’s president dictates transfer policy and has stated his intent clearly.
“We have not received an offer from Manchester or any other club for Gareth Bale. We would never listen to any offer for Bale, no matter what the fee.” he admitted.
United and Woodward need to start being realistic and accept that Gareth Bale will not be at Old Trafford anytime soon, unless helping Madrid knock the Red Devils out of the Champions League.