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Transfer target: Gareth Bale set for Real Madrid exit?
The Wales international's goal ratio has halved in La Liga this season
Last Updated: 21/05/19 1:25pm
Gareth Bale has been linked with Manchester United or a return to Tottenham after Zinedine Zidane claimed the Welshman "did not fit" in his team - but would he be worth the hefty price tag?
Zidane made the comments after leaving the 29-year-old on the bench during a 2-0 defeat to Real Betis on the final day of the season, adding: "I don't know if it's [Bale's] last game or not. I don't know what's going to happen."
I don't know if it's [Bale's] last game or not. I don't know what's going to happen.
Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, promptly told Sky Sports News: "I am not sure that Mr Zidane wants him to stay but, at the moment, Gareth wants to stay.
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"He has got a contract, he will quite happily see it out until 2022. He has been and is, in my opinion, one of the top three or four players in the world."
Bale appeared to have resurrected his career in Madrid after scoring a spectacular overhead kick only two minutes after coming on as a substitute in the Champions League final against Liverpool last year - netting a second 20 minutes later.
But another disappointing season followed that career high, and Zidane appears to have made a statement of intent regarding the Wales international's future at the Bernabeu after returning to the helm two months ago.
Bale turns 30 in July and will be eager to avoid another season on the sidelines after a difficult six-year spell in Spain's capital - starting around only half of league games over the past four years.
One of the primary reasons for his absence, prior to falling out of favour, was a string of injuries - being sidelined for 136 days in 2017/18 and another 73 this term, according to transfermarkt.co.uk.
During that period, the Welshman has produced his worst form in four years this term - when factoring a raft of key metrics per 90 minutes, according to the Sky Sports Power Rankings formula.
There are also signs Bale has lost his edge in front of goal, having only scored eight times in La Liga this season - a two-fold slump from his 16 during the previous campaign, from a similar number of minutes on the pitch.
Despite the dip, when fit, Bale remains a considerable threat - averaging at nearly one goal every two games during this campaign, typically from wide areas.
In addition, the heat-map below suggests he frequently sinks deeper to retrieve the ball and assist with defensive duties, while he is also capable of producing pinpoint, long passes to switch play.
His shot-map below reveals a high concentration of yellow shading, which represents difficult attempts on goals - while half of his converted chances (star-shaped) have been easier (shaded in red).
However, Bale's current goal ratio is either inferior or on par with players of a similar ilk at Manchester United and Tottenham, only narrowly edging Marcus Rashford and Lucas Moura for attempting shots and creating chances.
If Bale decides to honour his contract and see out his remaining three years on Galactico wages, then interested clubs could be forced to find alternatives, with Football Whispers data providing a range of options.
Of the players that have produced superior performances than Bale this season, Lyon forward Maxwel Cornet has the the most similar skillset, followed by Freiburg youngster Luca Waldschmidt.
There is also a raft of headline stars, including Barcelona-bound Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah - joined by more realistic targets Ciro Immobile, Timo Werner and Stephan El Shaarawy.
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