After months of speculation, Gareth Bale's future is finally clear.
According to Sky Sports' expert and Bleacher Report guest columnist Guillem Balague, Bale's much-anticipated move to Real Madrid will be over in a matter of hours—following reports yesterday from Sky Italia (h/t Eurosport) that suggested the transfer saga was coming to a close.
Bale will be with Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabeu, as expected.
Exact details of the deal are not yet known, but reports from sources above indicate the fee will likely reach around £90 million. It's a world-record amount that will no doubt have plenty of impacts on world football as a whole—especially for defending English champions Manchester United.
That might not appear true, but it is.
Bale's move to Madrid could have some serious ramifications for the Red Devils (both positive and negative); let's take a look at what some of those are.
No Manchester United Deal for Bale
Perhaps the most obvious place to begin is that United will not be signing Bale this summer—something the Independent said they may be doing less than just two weeks ago.
Was David Moyes really ever interested in a move for Bale?
Much like the constant speculation about a return for Cristiano Ronaldo, the link between Bale and the Red Devils was simply hype and was never going to turn into a real bid from United. Moyes—in his first offseason as the United manager—wasn't going to make a huge splash in the transfer market, at least not to the extent that Manchester United would be out-bidding Real Madrid.
Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia can breathe a little easier about their job security now because Bale most definitely won't be heading to Old Trafford.
Madrid Players Up for Transfer?
The most immediate impact that Bale's transfer to the Bernabeu Stadium has is on the current Los Blancos squad, and in particular their midfield and attack.
From a financial standpoint, Real Madrid will have spent an excessive amount of money this summer bringing in players. To date, they haven't yet justified that by selling players in return.
The graph below highlights just how much difference this summer has seen between players coming in and out of the Bernabeu. While Madrid are under no "obligation" to make sure they finish the summer in the green, the reality is that the club's current financial state isn't good.
Phil Minshull reported via the BBC in 2010 that Madrid were thought to be around €500 million in debt, and that number would only have risen since then.
Florentino Perez's cheque book allows them to buy players like Bale for exorbitant sums of money, but the reality is that Madrid aren't in a good place financially. As a result, players could well be sold this summer by Perez and Carlo Ancelotti in order to help their financial predicament somewhat—a move that would also make sense in light of the current squad Madrid have.
Ancelotti now has one of the most incredibly deep and richly talented squads in the world as a result of Madrid's strong summer purchases in the likes of Bale, Asier Illarramendi and Isco. The image below highlights not only some of the big-name players that are in the squad, but also their combined transfer value.
As we can see, their combined value is rather incredible.
From a positional point of view, several of these players could well leave the club this summer as a result of Bale's transfer. There is a serious logjam in midfield thanks to the Welshman's arrival, and it would not be surprising to see Los Blancos part ways with some big-name players as a result.
For United, this could mean a late signing before the window closes.
Moyes has been searching for a midfield partner/replacement for Michael Carrick, and so far, he has come up short in his pursuits of Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas and Marouane Fellaini to name a few.
Naturally, he could well turn his attention to the Bernabeu for a solution.
Either player would be a huge signing for United this summer, but both could also be a move Madrid are willing to make with another attacking playmaker in their squad. We've already seen that from a financial point of view they have some serious making up to this summer. Selling a player like Modric for around £30-40 million could well be a step Madrid is willing to make.
United's pursuit of Madrid's players definitely benefits from Bale's transfer.
Should United Spend, How Will That Affect Wayne Rooney?
However, while the Red Devils' spending and potential acquisition of Madrid's players this summer no doubt receive a huge boost from the transfer of Bale, United also stand to benefit from the deal in their pursuit to keep star attacker Wayne Rooney.
Much has been made of Rooney's reported desire (per the Sun) to leave Old Trafford this summer, despite the player himself not mentioning anything.
Moyes has been adamant since his first press conference as the United boss that Rooney wouldn't be for sale this summer (per the Telegraph)—rejecting offers and interest from several Premier League clubs, including Chelsea and Arsenal.
Should United add one of Los Blancos' current squad players to their midfield next season (or potentially even their attacking midfield), Rooney's future could be up in the air once more.
Danny Welbeck has already shown this season that he can be the creative and dynamic partner alongside Robin van Persie should Rooney want to leave. If that's the case, the Red Devils wouldn't feel his absence as much, given they have Shinji Kagawa as well as one of Madrid's midfielders.
United buying someone like Mesut Ozil or Luka Modric would dramatically increase the chances that Wayne Rooney would want to leave Old Trafford this summer.
Yet if we apply the same logic to another club, the opposite could be true.
If—as we've discussed—Bale's move to Madrid means that players like Di Maria and Ozil are more likely to be sold, then the clubs interested in a move for Rooney are also more likely to pick up those players. And if they do that, then their interest in Rooney would drop.
Take Arsenal as an example.
The Gunners were thought to be interested in a move for Rooney this summer (per the Daily Mirror), but a move hasn't yet eventuated from Arsene Wenger.
The North London club reportedly have a transfer budget of £65 million (per the Daily Star) sitting there waiting to be spent. With growing pressure from the fans, Wenger will likely pull the trigger at some point before the window closes—potentially on a deadline day move for the England international.
However, with Madrid players "more available" than they were at the start of the summer, Arsenal could turn their interest towards some of their key playmakers.
David Ornstein of BBC Sport reported this morning that Arsenal are interested in signing Di Maria and Karim Benzema from Real Madrid. If that happens, it's highly unlikely that the Gunners would also sign Rooney. Even if they wanted to, with those transfers already concluded, Rooney could realise that he won't get the playing time he desperately desires and choose to stay at Old Trafford anyway.
Either way, Arsenal's interest in Rooney dropped because of Madrid's players being on the market—which leaves United as pretty big winners in the end.
They keep their star player while the Gunners still make their desired signings.
The same example could be applied for Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain or any other club who think they might want to sign Rooney this summer. With more attacking stars like Rooney on the market, the demand and interest in Rooney naturally has to decrease; that's just the nature of supply and demand.
More options means that one player doesn't get all the attention.
Conclusion: How Do United Benefit Most?
While Bale's transfer to Madrid might not seem like it'll have a profound affect on Manchester United's transfer plans for the remaining two weeks, the reality is that directly and indirectly, there are some serious ramifications—both in terms of players coming to and leaving Old Trafford.
More attacking additions at the Bernabeu could lead United to finally find their central midfielder or extra attacker that they've searched for all summer long.
Those additions could also allow other clubs to find their ideal additions and subsequently end (or reduce) their transfer interest in Rooney.
Just what effects will actually happen still remains to be seen.
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