Manchester United

Manchester United Transfer News: Gareth Bale Told to Quit, Latest Neymar Rumours

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale, right, leaves the field after he got injured during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Malaga at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, April 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki/Associated Press
Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2016

Gareth Bale has been advised to leave Real Madrid by former Wales coach Raymond Verheijen, who believes remaining at Los Blancos is like "playing Russian roulette with your career."

In a potential boost for long-term suitors Manchester UnitedVerheijen, formerly assistant to the late Gary Speed at Wales, has come out  strongly against Real's injury record and urged Bale to find another club, per BBC Wales Sport.

"Does he want to risk injuries every season or look for a club with [a] very professional approach and a very healthy injury record? There are not many, but they are there," said the Dutchman. "Staying at that club is basically playing Russian roulette with your career." 

Bale, 26, has been sidelined for most of 2016 after limping off during a La Liga match against Sporting Gijon on Jan. 17.

He returned to the starting XI for the first time since then against Roma in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday and played just over an hour as Real advanced to the quarter-finals.

While Bale has had an excellent season with Los Blancos—scoring 14 goals and providing eight assists—he has played in only 16 of Real's 28 La Liga games, per WhoScored.com.

United would undoubtedly be first in the queue if Bale opted to take Verheijen's advice and quit Real, as they have been linked with the Welshman for some time now, per Rory Smith in the Times.

However, the Red Devils hardly boast an exemplary injury record themselves, with Luke Shaw, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia all first-team players who are sidelined with long-term fitness issues.

Bleacher Report's Dean Jones previously suggested that appointing Jose Mourinho as manager would make United more attractive to Bale:

However, the likelihood of that happening in the summer seems to be diminishing, per David McDonnell in the Mirror.

Verheijen makes an interesting point about Bale's injuries at Real, but they are likely to have little impact on whether he leaves the Santiago Bernabeu, and it seems unlikely United will be able to snap him up in the summer.

The same is also true of Neymar, Barcelona's Brazilian star with whom United have been heavily linked and were even reported to have made a bid for, per Spanish radio station COPE (via Sky Sports' Paul Vinnell).

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 03: Neymar JR. of FC Barcelona looks up during the La Liga match between Rayo Vallecano de Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio de Vallecas on March 3, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Any club in the world would be improved by the addition of Neymar, but Barcelona are adamant that he is staying put, and the club's technical secretary, Robert Fernandez, stressed the point again to Spanish outlet TVE (via Marca): "I made it very clear a fortnight ago, and I'll say it again now, Neymar will be staying here and there'll be no issues. He'll stay at Barcelona. I'd be concerned about it if he wasn't happy, but that isn't the case. I'm saying outright that he'll stay at Barca."

This comes as a blow for United but not a major surprise.

Neymar may not have put pen to paper on a new deal with Barca yet, but the idea of him leaving a club primed for a second consecutive treble to join a side struggling to qualify for the Champions League always seemed an unlikely prospect.  

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