Gareth Bale seems unsettled at Real Madrid, as per ESPN, and he is reportedly eyeing a return to the Premier League. Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and his former club Tottenham Hotspur. The question to ask right now is where he will fit best rather than where he will go, and just for the sake of comparison I’ve added Liverpool and Arsenal to the mix.
At Chelsea, Eden Hazard has the left wing locked up, and Juan Cuadrado and Willian fight it out on the right wing. Neither of the two are world class, though, and Gareth Bale is. Bale’s attributes compliment those of Hazard, with his eye for goal, blistering pace and aerial prowess highlighting his long list of attributes. Hazard is great at creating chances and Bale is superb at burying them.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men seem to be going through somewhat of an identity crisis, and their ageing squad is something that could call for a rebuild. Bale has all the attributes you would crave to get City back into gear, with his relatively young age (25) and ability to change a game. That being said, attacking midfield remains Manchester City’s strongest area, as they can choose from David Silva, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, James Milner, and even Sergio Aguero, Stevan Jovetic or Yaya Toure.
Arsenal has proven this season that they have a strong foundation. If you play Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in one team you will create chances, and perhaps Bale is the man to complete the puzzle. Arsenal can switch off at times, and much like Alexis Sanchez, Bale can create his own chances and bury them. Maybe Bale’s purchase would slow the development of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and push Theo Walcott out the door, so perhaps this is a red flag.
Louis Van Gaal has shown he isn’t afraid to dip into the market if the quality is there, and Bale’s quality is close to the best. Bale can complement United’s creative trio of Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria, and he may offer the left wing answer to Louis Van Gaal’s “false right-winger”, Juan Mata. The only issue is that United will need to add more tackling into the midfield to make up for benching Marouane Fellaini, but this can be solved.
Liverpool’s free flowing attack system that can counter or split the defence with passing isn’t too different to that of Real Madrid, so Bale would be great to add to that. In addition, Philippe Coutinho would have someone else in the squad who is capable of performing magic through dribbling and neat one-twos, and Bale offers another level entirely to Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling. That being said, Liverpool is unlikely to spend more than 40 million on one player in the transfer market, and Real Madrid will probably ask for double that.
Tottenham: A return to Tottenham would be amazing for Spurs. Pochettino’s men would finally have the cutting edge to make the top 4, and Bale would complete a prolific attacking unit of Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane. Eriksen would have 3 pacey players to release on the run, while Bale could bring out the best of Harry Kane’s aerial ability. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Bale will seriously be looking at the Ballon D’Or shortlist towards the end of the year, and Tottenham won’t be in the Champions League next season. In addition, Spurs won’t spend much on anybody unless they can minimize their net spend, and Spurs will need a clear out to get even remotely close to Bale’s fee.
Overall, this is how the destinations would stack up for Bale:
- 1. Chelsea
- 2. Manchester United
- 3. Tottenham Hotspur
- 4. Arsenal
- 5. Liverpool
- 6. Manchester City
Chelsea would seriously be looking at the Champions League title if they purchased Bale, and the Blues are already in the bracket of “Champions League Contenders”.