•Another bid could be made to sign Bale when the Chinese market re-opens
•Alternatively, pressure is building on Zinedine Zidane after a poor pre-season
Gareth Bale is ready to dig-in at Real Madrid until the Chinese Super League market re-opens in November, or until there is a change in coach at the club.
The theory that the latter could happen before the former, was strengthened by another pre-season defeat which made Real Madrid’s - according to the average points-per-game tallies totted-up by Diario AS on Monday - the worst pre-season of any of the 20 La Liga sides this summer.
Bale watched patiently from the sidelines last night as Real Madrid laboured against Roma. When he finally came on with 30 minutes left he was Zinedine Zidane’s third change. He knows that is as good as it is going to get this season for as long as Zidane is in charge.
He will be, at best, on the bench, and watching players such as 19-year-old Vinicius or new signing Luka Jovic get minutes ahead of him.
But the coach who has made him a near outcast at the club is on very shaky ground after one of the worst pre-seasons in recent memory at the club.
Madrid let-in 18 goals in seven friendlies and only won two games. ‘Zidane is a mess’ read one headline in Marca, after, in the final warm-up match of the summer, the coach started with a back three and wing-backs, and finished with a 4-4-2.
Madrid are a ‘sea of doubts’ said Diario AS, also highlighting the tactical indecision of a coach who has failed to improve the team since he took over last March. Last week’s closing of the Premier League transfer market passed by without a single offer for Bale.
Now the plan is to maintain fitness levels that have so far not been affected by being denied competitive pre-season match time and wait to see how Real Madrid’s season develops.
Having denied Bale his move to China two weeks ago the club were left waiting for a Premier League miracle last week, with the hope that Manchester United would be scrambling for a final-hour replacement for Romelu Lukaku. But predictably it never came and they are now left clinging to the hope - again very faint - that Paris Saint-Germain or Bayern Munich will move for the 30-year-old before the other European League windows shut.
Bale’s representatives laughed off the idea of a Bale-Neymar swap earlier in the summer and have not changed their opinion over the extreme unlikelihood of that happening. If PSG and Real Madrid do conjure a dramatic player plus cash deal - the players the French team want in part exchange for Neymar are Keylor Navas, Casemiro and Luka Modric. They are not interested in forwards.
Bayern have been left disappointed by their apparent failure to sign the now injured Leroy Sane but the chances of them turning to Bale are still remote. They appear to be looking at Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic as a stop-gap until they can go again for Sane. He, like another of their options Roma’s Cengiz Under, will be much cheaper than Bale, who is even too expensive on loan.
The German club took James Rodriguez on a two-year loan from Real Madrid two seasons ago paying his €7.5m (£7m) salary and a €7.5m fee but Bale’s wages are more than double those of the Colombian and the possibility is seen as a non-starter.
Despite stories in the Madrid media that Bale’s family did not want to go to China and that caused him to stay put, the player had made his mind up to move to Asia.
After winning four Champions League in Europe he had been convinced of the challenge of moving to Asia and becoming the continent’s biggest player and the new face of the China Super League.