With China’s walls up, Bale looks set for another season of benchwarming

By Andrew Warshaw

July 30 – Not so long ago he was the world’s most expensive footballer, now Gareth Bale could face the ludicrous situation of sitting on the Real Madrid bench for large chunks of the forthcoming season unless he is somehow snapped up before the summer transfer window closes at various times throughout Europe over the coming weeks.

As high-profile footballing stalemates go, there have been few comparisons.

The Chinese window is set to close tomorrow, Wednesday, and with Bale’s move to Jiangsu Suning having collapsed, time is against Bale for a big-money move elsewhere.

Bale has pulled out of Real Madrid’s current trip to Germany for the pre-season Audi Cup, apparently not in the right mental state to play after Real president Florentino Perez prevented him from going to China for what was a reported to be a salary of £1 million a week which would have represented the second most lucrative deal in history (though there is suggestion that there was never really a Chinese offer).

Last week, Real boss Zinedine Zidane said the 30-year-old was “very close to leaving” having fallen out of favour and that his exit would be “best for everyone”. But Perez refused to let Bale go on the cheap.

Bale joined Real for nigh on €100 million from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 in what was a world record deal at the time and has three years left on his contract.

But although the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Tottenham themselves have all been linked to buying him, his phenomenal wages, reported to be in the region of £600,000 a week, are almost certain to prove a major sticking point in any negotiation.

What all of this means is that the highly prized Welsh forward could end up watching from the sidelines unless his relationship with Zidane can somehow be repaired.

Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett suggests this is unlikely to happen.

“It’s simple, Zidane doesn’t like Gareth. There’s no relationship between them. There never has been,” Barnett told the French publication Journal du Dimanche.

Barnett has apparently ruled out a loan deal for Bale so what now?

Spanish media outlet Marca reported on Monday that Bale has two options – find a new Chinese club willing to pay a transfer fee as well as his eye-watering wages (unlikely since the Chinese window is on the verge of closing or come back to Europe, which will mean a huge cut in wages.

Otherwise he seems destined to stay where he is: a wasted yet extremely valuable talent. Hardly an ideal scenario for any of the parties.

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