Bale's time at Madrid turns sour
Around this time two years ago I wrote a column stating that it was time to sell Gareth Bale. That summer, clubs in the Premier League would've been queueing up, with Mourinho's United prime candidates and making the most noise. The Welshman's exit probably would have opened the way for Mbappé, a strategic signing for Madrid. Two seasons on and Bale has played eighty games and only produced two memorable moments: the overhead kick in the Champions League final against Liverpool, when he came off the bench, and the hat-trick against Kashima in the Club World Cup. The rest of his performances have been eminently forgettable and at times bizarre.
The next step
This supposed thoroughbred has hobbled his way through, and even his staunchest defenders have slackened their stance. The first being Zidane, who, at the start of his first tenure had Bale as one of the first names on the teamsheet, before leaving him on the bench for crunch games - now he can't even stand him being anywhere near the dressing room. The problem now is that Madrid take their player to market with an expensive and dubious tag hanging round his neck, a player whose numbers and track record will be scrutinised. Now Madrid will have to accept a lower fee, in a complex deal, and, in the best-case scenario, will have to hope they can exchange him for a player that will fit among Zidane's plans. And that's presuming Bale will cooperate and assuming he thinks his time at the club has come to an end - something which his camp don't seem to understand. However it happens, his departure will be, plainly and simply, a huge relief.