Could Real Madrid write off Gareth Bale's fee? Or will Welshman be stuck at the Bernabeu?
Bale has fallen out of favour at the Bernabeu under Zinedine Zidane
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 24/07/19 6:10am
Are the financials right for Gareth Bale to leave Real Madrid? Or could the Welshman be stuck at the Bernabeu?
After a war of words in the last few days, the 30-year-old has fallen out of favour at the Bernabeu under Zinedine Zidane with the Real coach claiming the forward was "very close" to leaving over the weekend.
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With the help of Spanish football journalist Dermot Corrigan on the latest Transfer Talk Podcast, plus the thoughts of Spanish football experts Alvaro Montero and Graham Hunter and football finance expert Kieran Maguire, we assess the likelihood of Bale moving on...
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Will Real write off Bale's fee?
Speaking on the Transfer Talk Podcast, Corrigan says the narrative in Spain has changed, and that Real are thought to be willing to write off the £85m fee they paid Spurs for Bale in 2013.
With Bale earning £550,000-a-week at the Bernabeu, where he has a contract until 2022, Real may be happier to let him go and save on the salary...
"It's a very difficult one," Corrigan said. "Bale turned 30 this summer and has had well-documented injury problems. Madrid are going to have to find a way to do it financially.
"In Spain, they've started to use the word 'amortize', to say that Real have already amortized his transfer fee, which is just a fancy way of saying they're writing it off, and they'll just be happy not to pay his wages for the next three years."
Football finance expert Maguire adds: "I think ultimately both parties want to move on. From Real's perspective, they're looking at an annual cost of around £25m in wages. With three years of his contract left, they want to get £75m off their books."
Or could Bale stay on the bench?
Of course, it takes two to tango, and the financials must be right for a buying club as well as Real. Corrigan doesn't believe Bale's departure is necessarily written in stone...
"Could Bale stay and sit on the bench? It's definitely not the optimum situation for anyone involved, but it's getting more and more difficult to see the alternatives to that.
"Football is a funny game - things can change quickly, especially at Real Madrid. If Zidane doesn't revolutionise Real, who knows what will happen in six or so months' time; they could have another season like they did last year. Maybe Bale thinks it's difficult with Zidane, but if he doesn't have any options to leave, all he can do is stay and who knows what happens later.
"My idea is that he is happy enough to live in Spain. The family are happy here, it's very nice and he's very comfortable here."
Is Bale holding up a Pogba deal?
Paul Pogba has been heavily linked with Real, but Corrigan is unsure that Zidane's recent frank admissions on Bale are an attempt to get a move for the Manchester United moving quick...
"It may be the thinking for Zidane; I'm not so sure others at the club, like Florentino Perez, sees it as one in, one out in that way. I never got the impression Perez was that sold on Pogba being someone they break the bank to sign."
China may be the only option...
Speaking on Sky Sports News, Spanish football expert Montero believes China is the only option for Bale, as they will not directly rival Real and have the finance to fund it...
"Real will not accept a loan deal. It won't happen. They think it is impossible for Real to sell Gareth Bale for free to someone like Arsenal, Tottenham or Manchester United, a rival as such.
"The only possibility, for Real Madrid, as I've been told, is to sell Gareth Bale for free to China, because they are the only ones who will pay [the wages]."
Football finance expert Maguire says it is feasible for a Chinese club to make a deal for Bale, particularly as the hefty tax is only thought to be attached to transfer fees rather than wages.
"Certainly there is interest in China, but there are complications because normally the government insists a 100 per cent tax is paid on transfer deals, with it going back into Chinese youth football, but it wouldn't necessarily apply to his wages.
"So if Real Madrid were willing to cut their losses in terms of the transfer fee, that could be one exit route, and it would allow his agent to negotiate an even bigger salary for Gareth."
But where in China?
Speaking on the Transfer Show, former Shanghai SIPH technical director Mads Davidsen says if Bale was to move to China, Jiangsu Suning are the most likely to be able to finance a deal.
"I think it is Jiangsu Suning that is the most realistic club for Gareth Bale for several reasons, but one of the most important reasons is that it is a private owned club in China," said Davidsen, a Chinese football expert. "Therefore they can do pretty much whatever they want financially.
"When I speak to my network in China I am told that it is definitely realistic. They are seeing if it is possible. There are many things to come together and it is always difficult to pull off a transfer of this size - I have been involved in a few myself."
But Bale 'must snub China'
Bale needs to reject offers from the Chinese Super League and join an 'elite' club, according to La Liga expert Graham Hunter.
"I think it's going to be the wrong move [joining a Chinese Super League club]" Hunter told Sky Sports News. "The Chinese league is under matured and it's not a class league yet.
"He should be playing at an elite football club and he should be doing so in order to stick Zinedine Zidane's words back down his throat. He has been an extraordinary British export."
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