“Can he play at the top level in the Premier League?” – Chris Sutton raises bold question about Gareth Bale amid talk of return to English top-flight

Chris Sutton offers his thoughts on Gareth Bale's potential return to the Premier League
Chris Sutton offers his thoughts on Gareth Bale's potential return to the Premier League

Former Premier League winner Chris Sutton claims he is "not sure" if Gareth Bale can still compete at the top of English football.

The 32-year-old forward is searching for a new club this summer due to his contract expiring at Real Madrid, following a nine-year spell at the Bernabeu.

Bale's free-kick for Wales led to Andriy Yarmolenko's own-goal which meant the former's nation qualified for their first World Cup since 1958, where they have been clubbed with England, USA and Iran in the group stage.

The historic victory meant the Welsh talisman, who has suffered numerous injury problems in recent years, will need to find a club to help with his fitness before the tournament in Qatar later this year.

The Wales captain became the first Briton to win five Champions League titles following Madrid's victory over Liverpool in the final at the Stade de France last month, and has since been linked with a move back to England.

The former Spurs and Southampton superstar has also been linked with a shock move to his hometown club Cardiff City, who currently play in the English Championship.

When Sutton was asked on BBC Radio 5 Live about the links between the Bluebirds and the Welsh icon, the former Blackburn and Celtic forward replied (as per HITC Sport):

"Yes, Colin Murray (BBC Presenter), yes inside source saying Cardiff. I mean it’s an interesting one, isn’t it?!"

The outspoken pundit added:

“Can he play at the top level in the Premier League? I am not so sure he can now.”

Gareth Bale claims victory over Ukraine is "the greatest result" in Wales history, amid rumours he is set for Premier League return

64 years of hurt finally came to an end at the Cardiff City Stadium as Wales secured their place in football's biggest tournament.

Bale, who endured a turbulent season at Los Blancos in which he only made seven club appearances, told Sky Sports via BBC Sport:

"It's the greatest result in history for Welsh football. It means everything. It's what dreams are made of. I'm speechless because I'm so happy.
"Words can't describe how we feel at the moment."

Regardless of what happens later this year, Bale will surely go down as Wales' greatest-ever player, having earned 102 caps and scored 38 times.

The five-time European champion was also the driving force behind the Welsh's run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, where they fell to eventual winners Portugal.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava