5 possible destinations as Gareth Bale heads for Real Madrid exit
The future of Gareth Bale has been the subject of some pretty intense media speculation since he arrived at the Santiago Bernabéu back in the summer of 2013. Despite the constant reports of his impending departure, he has played a key role in a era of European dominance for Los Blancos, but it now appears that after six years at the club his time has come to an end.
But this does not mean that his career is at an end, or that he is even in decline. He is still yet to turn 30. Injuries have had a significant impact on his influence in recent times, but there is an argument over how Real Madrid have protected and treated the player they once paid a world record fee for.
Zinedine Zidane benefited from a fully-fit Bale in his first stint as manager, but the factious relationship that came to public head following the UEFA Champions League success of 2018 appears to be a bridge beyond repair. Zidane appreciates how influential Bale has the potential to be, but appears likely to replace the Welsh talisman in the summer and start a cycle of high-profile European transfers in the process.
As a player who has relied on his pace as a key strength, the constant injuries have prevented Bale from producing the sort of performances that prompted Real Madrid to invest so much money into his services in the first place. Wales manager Ryan Giggs had to adapt his game in the latter years of his career to combat his growing injury problems, but Bale does not have the technical range to follow the same path.
So, with his future now likely to be away from the Spanish capital, here are five possible destinations where Bale could find himself very soon.
#5 - A Return to Tottenham Hotspur
This is the start of an exiting new era for Tottenham Hotspur as their new stadium moves the club closer to their top six rivals. In manager Mauricio Pochettino, the club boast one of the most highly-rated coaches in the world game, and their increasing revenue streams dictate an exciting future may just be around the corner for the north London club.
Bale knows all about Spurs and he would be warmly welcomed back to the club by the fans. It was during his previous time at the club that he came to prominence with his performances in the UEFA Champions League, and if it had not been for the allure of joining a club as big as Real Madrid, he may never have left White Hart Lane to begin with.
Together with their impressive new stadium, Spurs also have one of the best-equipped training facilities in Europe, and the care that Bale would receive in terms of injury prevention and treatment would embarrass Real Madrid. He is a finely-tuned athlete that requires the very best care in order to play at the very best of his ability. Spurs can provide this.
Moving back to London would also be an attractive option for Bale's young family. Language would no longer be an issue, and a short journey back to Cardiff would bring him and his wife closer to their wider family and friends too. However, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy remains prudent in his financial management of the club, and sanctioning such an investment on a player like Bale could prove to be the stumbling block.