Real Madrid and Wales star Gareth Bale could become the most expensive football player in the world for the second time if he leaves Spain to line up for a new club in the 2018-19 season.
Rumours are rife that Bale is on his way to Manchester United for a massive £200 million transfer fee.
Bale must decide his future after Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has made clear the 28-year-old does not figure in his plans at Madrid.
The problem is money.
Bale earns a reported £400,000 a week after tax.
Soccer’s money men
Manchester United already fork out £500,000 a week to Chile international Alexis Sanchez, who is the highest earner in the English Premiere League. United also pay midfielder Paul Pogba around £290,000 a week.
Brazilian Neymar’s move from Barcelona to Paris St Germain in 2017 for £193 million is the most expensive transfer recorded.
Bale’s move from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid for £87 million in 2013 was the record transfer at the time and remains the sixth biggest fee ever paid for a player.
“I need to be playing week-in, week-out and that hasn’t happened this season for one reason or another. I have to sit down in the summer and discuss my future with my agent and take it from there,” Bale reflected after the Champions League final in which he scored two remarkable goals to give Real Madrid a 3-1 victory and a record-equalling third title in a row.
Last game for Madrid?
Many have interpreted his words to mean the final was his last game for Madrid, especially after his dissatisfaction at his omission from the starting line-up.
Unless Bale takes a significant pay cut, his destination is probably limited to a short-list of just a few clubs.
Manchester United head the list as long-time admirers. Then come the richest clubs in Europe – Manchester City, Liverpool, Paris St Germain, and possibly Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
Although the club that sold him – Tottenham Hotspur – have a buy-back clause, Bale’s management team have ruled them out of the running.