11 reasons why Gareth Bale could move to Manchester United
The sacking of Rafa Benitez from Real Madrid has sparked rumours that Gareth Bale may leave the Spanish club this summer. Hera are 11 reasons why that move could happen.
1. Real's fans haven't taken to the Welshman
Bale's record at Real might feature goals in the Champions League and Copa del Rey finals - and 37 in 71 matches overall since he arrived in Spain - but Real's supporters still remain somwewhat ambivalent towards him.
Los Blancos' fans jeered the Welsh winger after he chose to shoot rather than pass to Cristiano Ronaldo, who was in a better position,last season, and footage emerged after last season's Champions League exit to Juventus of Bale being abused in the Bernabeu car park.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo is not a man to get on the wrong side of
The relationship between Ronaldo and Bale - while far from acrimonious - is not warm. The Portuguese demands to be the main man at the Bernabeu and is not afraid to publicly berate his teammates if he feels they are not recognising his status: in January, he was visibly annoyed when Bale decided not to pass to him when he was well placed, while later in that same season a Bale goal was met by irritation from Ronaldo that he was not the one who put the ball in the net.
3. Bale has been unsettled by Benitez's sacking
Not many Madristas were unhappy at Rafael Benitez's sacking at Real, but Bale has been unsettled by recent events. He was enjoying his football under the former Liverpool manager, who had even been weighing up the possibility of selling Cristiano Ronaldo to accommodate Bale in the summer. Bale now wants talks with the club's hierarchy to determine what his role will be from now on.
4. Manchester United are willing to spend big to restore past glories
The Old Trafford club have splurged a huge amount of money since Louis van Gaal's arrival but the spending shows no sign of slowing down. A new record-breaking kit deal with adidas is worth £75million-a-year, while they will also bank a huge amount from returning to the Champions League this season. It all means that money is no object in the pursuit of Bale.
5. Real Madrid have no problem jettisoning recent big-name signings
Just ask Wesley Sniejder or Arjen Robben. The Dutch pair were signed in 2007, but were both sold two years later despite largely producing the goods on the pitch. A similar fate could befall Bale - it will be two years this summer since he joined Real from Spurs.
6. Isco is a Zidane favourite and could be kept over Bale
Isco, who arrived in the same summer as the Welshman, fell out with Rafael Benitez but the Spaniard's departure from Real could lead to his reintegration. Isco was signed from Malaga on the recommendation of Zinedine Zidane, who wanted to prevent him moving to Manchester City, and will surely be keen to promote him following his appointment as head coach. That could be bad news for Bale.
7. Marco Reus is waiting in the wings
Reus is being primed to become Real's latest galactico this summer. The German forward will likely leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, and Madrid is his expected destination. Even Real would struggle to accomodate Reus, Bale, Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Isco - so Reus's arrival could mean bye bye Bale.
8. Joining United would mean Bale was closer to his family
As well as the push factors from Real, swapping Madrid for Manchester would also hold some appeal for Bale. Firstly the move would mean the Welshman would be closer to his family - a particular concern given that Bale has a young daughter.
9. Bale knows he would be the main man at Old Trafford
Realistically no matter what Bale does at the Bernabeu, he is aware that he will always be the junior partner to Ronaldo. He'll also continue to move down the pecking order as Real hoover up a galactico in his position each summer.
At United, Bale would be the fulcrum of the team, and he would be linking up with a manager who so far has played a very attacking style with up to three strikers in the team at once. A return to the Premier League and the chance to be the focal point of a team once more could see Bale performing as spectacularly as he did when last in England.
10. A move to Manchester would provide the chance to team up with Ryan Giggs
Bale has made no secret of his admiration for compatriot Giggs, and a move to Old Trafford would see him linking up with the club's assistant manager - and, who knows, possibly the main man from this summer. Last year Bale said of the United legend: "I always used to watch Ryan Giggs growing up for obvious reasons, he played on the left, same as I do, and he’s Welsh and everything like that.
So for me I always used to watch him play and the way he played football was so nice to watch. The things he could do with a football were incredible." Giggs would also be desperate for the sale to go through - especially if he was seen to have played a part in the deal.
11. Few clubs could offer him an escape route
Chelsea and Manchester City would doubtless love to bring Bale to their clubs if he does decide to leave Real, but there are significant drawbacks with both. Chelsea are unlikely to be in next season's Champions League, although their prospects do look perkier under caretaker Guus Hiddink, while City could find themselves under new management next season under Pep Guardiola. The latter might prefer to pursue other options in the transfer market.