Where will under-fire Galactico Gareth Bale end up this summer?
Real Madrid’s attempts to retain their European crown this season came to a crushing halt, as Serie A champions Juventus dispatched Carlo Ancelotti’s Galacticos in their semi-final encounters, and it was again Welsh international winger Gareth Bale who was in the spotlight for his under-par performance.
Despite having made a blistering beginning to his career in the Spanish capital last season, the former Tottenham star has received vast criticism for his stuttering showings this term, leading to heated speculation surrounding his future in the summer.
Following such growing reports over the Welshman’s time at the Bernabeu, here are five potential destinations across Europe.
Recently crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern will be hopeful of revamping their attacking force for next season, having been comprehensively dispatched in Europe this term by Barcelona, with Bale 7/1 with Coral to join the Bavarians.
Current widemen Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are both over 30 now and have become increasingly injury-prone in the latter stages of their careers, meaning Bale could be a suitable replacement on the German flanks.
Another factor in Bale’s decision over his next club could be who is his mentor and, with Pep Guardiola being known for his incredible man management skills, including with Lionel Messi in the past, would the highly-driven Welshman turn down the chance to work with such an established coach?
Louis van Gaal’s Red Devils are the leading chasers for Bale’s summer signature at odds-on 4/5, having been linked with a switch to Old Trafford even before becoming the most expensive player of all time when joining Los Blancos last year.
The Welshman could easily be tempted by the call of United, as he would likely become the key man with Dutch boss Van Gaal able to build the team around him in an advanced attacking role or wide left. New signing Memphis Depay would then take his place on the right, with Wayne Rooney chasing his club’s all-time goalscoring record through a more recognised central position.
If Bale truly wants to move out of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow, what better way to do so than becoming the next superstar on his teammate’s old stomping ground?
Eden Hazard was rightly voted PFA Player of the Year in England’s top-flight, having struck 14 goals and provided eight assists in 35 outings in a stunning season, while Bale has come under fire for his torrid term, but has netted 13 times and created the same number of assists in 28 appearances.
Although, Jose Mourinho could look to combine both attackers in a deadly frontline (5/1 to join), with the Belgium international possibly being shifted into a potentially prolific number 10 role, with Bale then occupying a more familiar wide position.
Gareth Bale having a bad season: 28 games: 13 goals, 8 assist. Hazard having the best season of his career: 35 games: 14 goals, 8 assists.
— Mike Sanz (@mikesanz19) May 13, 2015
Outsiders for Bale’s signature at 10/1, PSG would have no problem in forking over the funds for such a high-profile transfer, but money may not be enough to persuade Real’s under-fire Galactico.
Although, with Ezequiel Lavezzi seemingly likely to be sold, Bale would be a sublime replacement on the French capital side’s wings.
Another team financially capable of securing Bale’s services (7/1 next club), and City will also be in search of world class forward threats, having lost their Premier League title to Chelsea.
In a fight to win their crown back, and finally challenge in Europe’s elite club competition next season, the Sky Blues will need a player of Bale’s calibre. David Silva has been deployed in an unconvincing wide role this term, because of a lack of genuinely talented out and out wingers, while Jesus Navas hasn’t hit the heights expected of the Spaniard. Would City provide the right platform for Bale to revive his career next season?