Sunday 18 August 2019

Bale's camp 'furious' after Real block China move

Gareth Bale has three years remaining on his contract with Real Madrid. Photo: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports
Gareth Bale has three years remaining on his contract with Real Madrid. Photo: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

John Percy

Gareth Bale's lucrative move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning has been sensationally called off by Real Madrid's board.

Bale's proposed switch to the Far East is understood to have totally collapsed with the Wales international now facing up to the prospect of staying at Real, in a surprise development which has left the star's camp "furious".

It's understood that Bale's move to Suning - where he would have earned over £1 million a week and been the highest-paid player in the world - has broken down over demands made by Real Madrid, who are seeking a transfer fee for the 30-year-old.

Real's president Florentino Perez is also believed to have blocked the move as he believes Bale - who cost a then world record fee of £85 million from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 - is too valuable a player to let go on the cheap.

Perez has frequently defended Bale during his time at the Bernabeu, and has proved an influential figure during talks over the last 48 hours.

Bale's future under Zinedine Zidane still appears bleak, after he was told in no uncertain terms to leave by the Real Madrid manager last week.

But Real's hierarchy have now intervened and told Bale his hopes of a move to the Chinese Super League are now over, leaving the attacker in an uncertain position.

Reports from Spain that Bale's family blocked the move have been angrily dismissed and branded "disgraceful" by sources closes to the player.

Drift

The Chinese transfer window will shut on Wednesday and Bale is now facing an anxious wait to discover if the move can be revived, though sources suggest any deal is completely off. Bale's move to China was "50-50" on Saturday but it then began to drift further away as the weekend progressed.

Bale would have almost doubled his £600,000-a-week Real wages at Suning, ensuring he would also have been the biggest star to ever move to the ambitious Chinese league. A three-year contract is understood to have been on the table during initial negotiations.

Real's decision may have been reinforced by the injury to midfielder Marco Asensio last week. Asensio, the Spain international, suffered a cruciate ligament injury in the pre-season friendly against Arsenal and is facing up to nine months on the sidelines.

It remains to be seen whether Bale can now be reintegrated into Zidane's plans, after the former France international's damning comments last week.

After last Sunday's pre-season friendly against Bayern Munich, Zidane said: "He [Bale] wasn't included in the squad because the club is working on his departure and that's why he didn't play.

"We'll have to see what happens in the coming days. We'll have to see if it goes through tomorrow, if it does then all the better. Let's hope, for everyone's sake, that it happens soon. The club is dealing with the club that he'll move to."

Bale did respond days later by stepping off the substitutes' bench to score against Arsenal, but Zidane insisted the forward's situation remained "unchanged".

Zidane has continued to give Bale the silent treatment, choosing not to try to explain the situation with him personally or find out what the player wanted.

Bale's situation could now impact on Zidane's bid to sign Paul Pogba, with Perez unlikely to sanction such a costly transfer deal.

Zidane was criticised by Real Madrid fans after a chaotic 7-3 defeat by fierce rivals Atletico Madrid in a friendly in New Jersey on Friday night, in which Bale was introduced as a second-half substitute with half an hour remaining.

Bale has three years remaining on his contract with the Spanish giants, in a glittering six-year spell where he has won four Champions Leagues, one La Liga title, a Copa del Rey, three Uefa Super Cups and three Club World Cups.

He is unquestionably the most successful British export in football history and now, for the moment, appears to be staying at Real Madrid. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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