This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to Spanish publication MARCA, Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is Real Madrid’s “primary” transfer target this summer and Los Blancos are ready to offer Gareth Bale in return.
The report claims Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has made it clear to the club’s hierarchy that Pogba is the man he wants and sees him as the ideal fit in their midfield next season.
It claims that in order to potentially sweeten the deal for United, the La Liga giants would be willing to throw in Bale.
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But with the Welshman’s long history of injuries and extortionate wages to boot, United may just be better off by turning away from their long-term target once and for all.
When Bale was at the peak of his powers, the winger had the world at his feet. He arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu ready to take over from Cristiano Ronaldo and perhaps even had expectations of lifting the coveted Ballon d’Or award himself.
Instead, the 29-year-old has been struck down by the injury curse, failed to step out of Ronaldo’s shadow and has even been ostracised by some of his own teammates and fans. Quite the downturn for someone of his ability. Oh, and he’s also the highest paid player at the club.
Indeed, Bale’s career path since leaving Tottenham has been eerily similar to that of the club he has been linked with for so long.
United were at the summit of English football under Sir Alex Ferguson, but saw their status as top dogs in the city of Manchester – let alone the country – slip from under their grip. Managers and players have gone by, but the one constant has been their falling down the table.
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A move for Bale would essentially bring about the two modern Titanics of football together. Neither are in their greatest moment and a move would simply exacerbate the problems that are already there, effectively adding another Alexis Sanchez – high wages and limited impact.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United are desperately trying to rebuild on and off the pitch. Younger, more hungrier players with lots of potential and room to grow are now the priority, as they should be.
Getting rid of Pogba just to get back another player with big wages and an apparent attitude problem would go against everything the club have been trying to do.
The last time United signed an ageing player on the downturn, that man turned out to be Sanchez. The Red Devils have already been burned once, it’s time to learn their lesson and let their Bale obsession go.