Real Madrid are already drawing up concrete plans setting out the steps they need to take to sign Neymar. The club first got in touch with the player and his inner circle months ago, and during one of the initial conversations Neymar's father indicated to Madrid's representatives that, although the Brazilian star is keen to leave the Ligue 1 club, the transfer will be extremely complicated. Firstly, because of the utter opposition from PSG owner Tamim ben Hamad Al-Thani to the sale of the star he signed last summer for 222 million euros. He is obsessed with preventing the deal from happening. Secondly, because no matter what happens, the French club won't let Neymar leave for less than 300 million euros.
Pressure on PSG to sell Neymar
To put pressure on PSG and force the move through, Neymar Senior has put the situation in the hands of Pini Zahavi, the agent who played a decisive role in Neymar's move to PSG. And to make the signing easier from an economic point of view, Real Madrid have a cunning plan: sell Gareth Bale. The Welshman is no longer one of the protected elite at the Bernabéu and Madrid are entirely happy to consider selling the striker Florentino Pérez paid 101 million euros for five years ago, when he was considered Cristiano Ronaldo's successor. Amidst injuries, up and down performances and an inability to fully adapt to the club, Bale never truly realised his potential. However, Real Madrid believe he is still highly valued in the English Premier League and Bernabéu bosses are confident they can bring in 100 million euros from selling the striker, which would help fund part of Neymar's acquisition costs. What's more, selling Bale would save Real Madrid his salary, some 18 million euros a year gross.
Bale not keen to leave Real Madrid
Bale is under contract until 2022, but at 28 years old it doesn't appear he's going to make much more of an impact than he already has. Florentino's dream, when he signed the striker for 101 million euros, that he would be the replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo has evaporated and belief in the player, both at the club and among the fans, has dissipated. But the Welshman's inner circle insist that Bale won't be going anywhere soon, saying that "Bale loves Madrid and Madrid loves Bale", but equally that could be a strategy to ensure the player's value in the market doesn't fall.
Bale on the bench
What's certain is that the player has gone from non-negotiable to dispensable. Zidane left him on the bench for massive nights such as the Champions League matches against PSG, Juventus and Bayern. Zidane has progressively lost confidence in the player, both because of his perfomances and his commitment. That said, the coach continues to publicly backed him and appears keen to have him feeling positive for the Champions League final against Liverpool in Kiev on 26 May.
Zidane put Bale in his starting line-up for the recent Clásico, and the Welshman responded to some extent being more involved and committed, although still lacking participation (35 passes, 30 of which were completed), losing the ball eight times and winning it back three, but he scored a fine goal to make it 2-2. This Saturday, against Celta, Zidane has once again put Bale in his starting line-up in what could be his final match in the Santiago Bernabéu. In the stadium where he was heralded as the successor to Cristiano Ronaldo, and which could end up seeing him as the saleable asset that allows Madrid to buy Neymar, Florentino Perez's main target.