For a majority of this summer, it felt as though Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez would be sold by Real Madrid. However, in light of recent developments, it might not be a surprise if Bale and James end up staying at the club, for at least another season.
While Bale's transfer to the Chinese Super League side, Jiangsu Suning was called off by Florentina Perez, James has reportedly been told by the Real Madrid president that he would be staying at the club for the upcoming season.
Considering Marco Asensio's severe injury, the decision to retain both Bale and James at the club is slightly understandable. However, with so much having happened with these players at the club in the recent past, Real Madrid might actually have more to lose by having this duo remain at the club next season.
A couple of weeks back, Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane revealed that Bale's transfer away from the club was being worked on and that he would be happy if the Welsh winger left the club at the earliest. Although these statements might have slightly been blown out of proportion, it is not surprising considering the strained relationship the two gentlemen have enjoyed.
After this public fall-out, it is hard to imagine Bale featuring in Zidane's team next season. However, if the former does end up staying at the club, the manager might be forced to play the Welshman in his team. The French coach is short of wingers and with Asensio's injury, Bale could be the man to fill in the void created by the Spaniard.
However, after having made a grand total of 80 starts in the last 4 seasons combined, Bale might find it difficult to break the hard wall that Zidane is. A few bad games could consign the Welshman to a place on the bench. This would definitely intensify the pressure on the 30-year-old which could make it hard for him to get back to his best.
More importantly, the morale of Real Madrid's dressing room could take a hit considering the relationship between these two individuals at the club. There could be a lot of uncomfortable moments in the dressing room that could inadvertently define Real Madrid's performance next season.
On the other hand, James was told that he would not feature in Zidane's plans for the upcoming season after his 2-year loan-spell ended at Bayern Munich in 2019. Hence, he was listed for a transfer and the talented attacking midfielder did have a few suitors for him. However, the Colombian is now reportedly set to stay at La Liga outfit for the upcoming season.
James and Zidane had a public fall-out a couple of seasons ago and that led to the Colombian being loaned out to the German club. Bayern though, decided against signing the midfielder on a permanent deal, meaning that the player returned to Madrid.
Through the summer, James might have been making his mind up to play at a different club environment. Thus, the sudden decision of him staying, could be detrimental to both the player and the team as he would now have to resurrect his relationship with the manager and also adjust to the new philosophy at the club.
Real Madrid needs their midfield to function properly and if the experienced players fail, the nightmares of the 2018/19 season could come back to haunt them. Hence, James' stay at the club could indeed be a tricky situation for all parties involved.
Moreover, a club needs players who are hungry and motivated to perform. And for the situation that has engulfed Real Madrid, the same is even more essential.
At this juncture, it seems difficult to extract such kind of commitment from players like Bale and James, in lieu of their current scenario. Hence, their stay could end up dragging down the club rather than catapulting it to success.Published 31 Jul 2019, 13:22 IST