Pictures over the weekend of Garth Bale’s white Bentley being attacked by fans after El Clasico have done little to allay rumours that he’ll be leaving the Bernabeu this summer. The Welshman helped to fire Los Blancos to their 10th European Cup last season in his debut campaign, but even though he netted in that final against bitter rivals Atletico and is the world’s most expensive footballer – he cost the club £86m – the short-term nature of the La Liga giants and their supporters has truly hit home. The two big English sides chasing Bale are Manchester United and Chelsea, with both seemingly ready to offer him a route back to Britain… but which, if either, team should the wing wizard pick?
— Nicholas Rigg (@nicholasrigg) March 23, 2015
Although the image is shocking, it’s actually potentially good news for Manchester United and Chelsea, with the pair thought to be keen on luring Bale back to England. Surely he’ll be more open to a transfer now?
The biggest thing going in his favour if he joins United is that Bale will be the main man. End of. Reports have already indicated that he could be offered wages of around £300,000-per-week, which would make him the Red Devils’ highest paid player, ahead of Wayne Rooney. Such status is sure to guarantee him certain privileges, such as a potential role in the ‘No. 10’ position. Bale thrived in the role for Spurs during 2012/13, netting 21 goals and winning the Player of the Year award.
Being the marquee man would also move him clear of the friction he currently suffers with Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo. ‘Ronny’ is Mr Madrid right now, and no matter what Bale does, he’s unlikely to ever be loved to the same level by Real’s fans. However, United supporters will immediately take to him if he switches to Old Trafford, with the club having been through a bleak period.
Should Angel di Maria stay, competition for a spot may be intense. Juan Mata also like to play in the role just off a main striker, so Bale would have to impress immediately to hold down the position.
United’s recent struggles are also an issue, with the club by no means guaranteed Champions League qualification. Louis van Gaal looks on course to get his side back into the big time this time around, but with more big name players expected to be parachuted in for massive fees, the opening half of the season could once again be blighted by inconsistent showings.
The Blues look to be on course to be champions of England this season, so joining the biggest club is likely to appeal to Bale. The Blues have been far and away the best side in the Premier League this term, and should another top class player be added, it’s likely that Jose Mourinho, arguably the best coach in the country, will be able to guide his team to another challenge in 2015/16.
A return to London may also appeal to Bale, who previously played at Tottenham. Spurs fans are likely to be a little unforgiving, but being in familiar surroundings could ease the Welshman’s adaptation to life back in English football.
A role on the right looks to be on the cards. Even though Juan Cuadrado was added to the squad for the responsibility, his lack of game time so far suggests that he’s not truly won over Mourinho, and we all saw what happened with Mohamed Salah – signed for the same opposition 12 months previous. Bale is most effective in a central attacking midfield role in a 4-2-3-1, so playing in a more defensively responsible role may not appeal to him after enjoying freedom on the flank in Real’s 4-3-3.
Mourinho has tendency to quash his players’ attacking instincts. We’re not saying that the ‘Special One’ is a negative coach, but when you see Eden Hazard being encouraged to do his defensive work and the likes of Willian brought on, as he was at Liverpool last season, to nullify opposition’s threats rather than do what he’s best at, is a worry for Bale.