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REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: First Bale deadline today as China window shuts

Chinese Super League clubs have until 18:00 Spanish time to complete their transfer business. The next key date is 8 August, when the Premier League window closes.

Real Madrid: First Bale deadline today as CSL window shuts
JAVIER GANDUL DIARIO AS

As the saga over Gareth Bale's Real Madrid future rumbles on, today sees one of the Welshman's avenues out of the Bernabéu close: China. With the Chinese Super League's transfer window due to shut at 18:00 Spanish time, Jiangsu Suning have until then to launch what would be their third bid to sign the forward.

Bale did not travel with Madrid to Munich for the Audi Cup, with his absence from Los Blancos' squad initially going unexplained, before head coach Zinedine Zidane yesterday claimed that the player was not fit and had been left behind after consultation with the club's medical staff.

Bale twice close to China move in past 10 days

Over the past 10 days, talks over a Bale switch to the CSL have twice been at an advanced stage. On 20 July, the player opted out of Madrid's friendly with Bayern Munich to avoid injury - a decision motivated by overtures from China which, with both Jiangsu and Beijing Gouan in the frame to sign him, came to nothing.

Days later, hours before last Friday's derby with Atlético Madrid, the prospect of a transfer to the CSL was rekindled. Jiangsu, it emerged, were offering Bale a two-year contract worth 25m euros a season, and were ready to pay Madrid a fee of 22m. Unlike against Bayern, he did take his place in the matchday squad, and indeed came on for the final half an hour. The deal fell through once more, though.

Close of Premier League window the next key date

Following the close of the CSL transfer window, the next key date concerning Bale's future is 8 August. Premier League clubs will no longer be able to register new signings after 18:00 Spanish time on that day, as the English top-flight window now closes before the league season kicks off.

Once China and England have been ruled out as possible destinations, Bale's options will be severely limited. Few clubs outside of those two countries possess the financial muscle to buy the 30-year-old from Madrid and, once he has been signed, equal his current salary of 14.5m euros after tax.