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Real Madrid Transfer News: Real Reportedly Ready to Sell Gareth Bale This Summer

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2018

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale runs into position during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul White)
Paul White/Associated Press

Real Madrid want to sell Gareth Bale this summer despite the player preferring to stay in the Spanish capital, according to Guillem Balague of Sky Sports.

Spanish football expert Balague told Sky Sports, "I am convinced Real Madrid want to sell Gareth Bale. That is not Bale's preferred choice, he would like to stay."

Balague also discussed possible next destinations for Bale, although he ruled out a return to former club Tottenham Hotspur, citing the potential cost as prohibitive.

By contrast, Balague said while Bale coming back to the Premier League is a possibility, the Wales international would have to "explore all opportunities" amid rumours Bayern Munich are also keen.

Bale is reportedly wanted by a number of clubs from the Premier League.
Bale is reportedly wanted by a number of clubs from the Premier League.Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Teams from England's top flight are already circling, according to Diario Gol (h/t James Walters of the Daily Star), who have reported Arsenal, Spurs, Manchester United and Chelsea have all made approaches.

The same source noted how Real Madrid President Florentino Perez expects to fetch a fee of £79 million for Bale. It's a hefty price, but one many clubs would likely consider paying for a forward with Bale's pace, power and eye for goal.

Real offloading Bale would be a curious move despite the 28-year-old's lengthy history of injuries since moving to Madrid in a then-world record deal in 2013. When he has played, the former Southampton academy product has generally delivered.

Bale has found the net 11 times and provided three assists in all competitions this season. He's also established a history of scoring decisive goals in finals, putting Real in front against neighbours Atletico Madrid in the 2014 UEFA Champions League final.

Bale's tenure with Real has been a decorated one, despite his litany of injuries.
Bale's tenure with Real has been a decorated one, despite his litany of injuries.VI-Images/Getty Images

The same year saw Bale net a spectacular solo winner to beat Barcelona and help Real win the Copa del Rey.

He can still add match-winning quality to a forward line better whenever he starts.

However, Real are no longer as reliant on Bale staying fit, not since the emergence of Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio. Both started when Los Merengues beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League last-16 second leg earlier this month.

Afterward, manager Zinedine Zidane talked up Bale's value despite leaving him out, per Sky Sports: "I respect all the players, including Gareth Bale. He wasn't a starter in either leg, but he's a very important player who causes lots of trouble to the opposition."

Zidane still believes in Bale.
Zidane still believes in Bale.VI-Images/Getty Images

Zidane still appreciates Bale's talent, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to accommodate the oft-injured attacker in a squad loaded with quality in forward areas.

Vazquez is a true winger able to stretch defences, while Asensio has a knack for threading passes between the lines. Both have goals in their respective repertoires as well.

The same is true of creative midfielder Isco, another player Zidane values.

Real's manager believes Isco will stay at Real despite rumours linking the Spain international with Manchester City, per Lyall Thomas of Sky Sports.

Having Isco, Vazquez and Asensio in the squad would make Bale expendable. His future would be in further doubt if Real intend to bring in an expensive star or two during this summer's transfer window.

Asensio and Isco provide Real with plenty of options other than Bale.
Asensio and Isco provide Real with plenty of options other than Bale.AFP Contributor/Getty Images

The club continues to be linked with Bayern Munich centre-forward Robert Lewandowski, per Spanish source AS (h/t TalkSport.com). Lewandowski wouldn't come cheap, but Real could offset the cost of any such deal by letting Bale find a new club.

Real have made a habit of offloading big-name players to make room for new arrivals. Mesut Ozil and Gonazalo Higuain were sold in 2013 to help recoup the £85 million spent on Bale.

Now, it could be the Welshman's turn to facilitate another big-money arrival.

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