Saturday 17 August 2019

Zidane 'a disgrace' says agent as Beijing club move for Bale

Gareth Bale. Photo: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
Gareth Bale. Photo: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Matt Law

Beijing Guoan want to make Gareth Bale the highest-paid player in Chinese football history by offering him a route out of Real Madrid.

Real manager Zinedine Zidane has revealed the club are working on Bale's departure, prompting the Welshman's agent, Jonathan Barnett, to label the former France international "a disgrace".

Barnett also suggested there could be a surprise in terms of where Bale goes next and reports indicate Beijing Guoan have already made it clear they are interested in taking the 30-year-old to China.

Guoan are not the only club interested in Bale, but they are one of the few who might be able to match or better his £600,000-a-week Real wages.

Estimated to be among the wealthiest clubs in China, Guoan have previously proved their ability to spend big by signing striker Cedric Bakambu from Villarreal for more than £35 million.

It is thought Bakambu earns over £300,000-a-week and, interestingly, the player's representatives are listed as the Stellar Group, whose chairman is Barnett.

Whether or not Bale would be prepared to move to China remains to be seen and it could be that a big European club, such as Paris Saint-Germain, might be more appealing.

Representatives handling Neymar's exit out of PSG have reportedly explored the possibility of a swap deal involving Bale that would take the Brazilian to Real.

Bale would almost certainly be able to earn more in China, where the highest-paid player is currently Ezequiel Lavezzi, who is paid over £500,000-a-week at Hebei China Fortune.

The transfer window in China shuts on July 31, meaning Guoan have less than 10 days to try to secure what would be a huge coup by signing Bale.

The Chinese Super League club have been desperate to sign a big-name star this summer and had made enquiries over Chelsea winger Willian.

Zidane made it clear he wants Bale to leave Real as soon as possible, when asked why he did not play against Bayern Munich in a pre-season friendly.

"He wasn't included in the squad because the club is working on his departure and that's why he didn't play," said Zidane.

"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.

"It's nothing personal. There comes a time when things are done because they need to be done. I've not got anything against him. We have to make decisions and change things, that's all there is to it.

"The situation will change and it's for the best for everyone. That's how things go.

"I speak with the club, we've got decisions to make and it's a decision that's been made by the coach and the player. Let's see how things play out."

Bale has won the Champions League four times and a La Liga title since joining Real for a then world record £86m in 2013, making him the most successful British football export of all-time.

Barnett responded to Zidane's comments by saying: "Zidane is a disgrace to speak like that about someone who has done so much for Real.

"If and when Gareth goes it will be because it is in the best interest of Gareth and nothing to do with Zidane pushing."

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