Shock favourites named in race to sign Real Madrid and Wales star Gareth Bale
We're long overdue a decent summer transfer saga, and the destination of Real Madrid's Gareth Bale could be just what we've all been waiting for.
The 32-year-old looks set to leave Los Blancos before the transfer deadline at the end of August, after falling out of favour with then-manager Zinedine Zidane, and spending last season on loan with his former club Tottenham Hotspur.
New Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo has already confirmed the club won't be bringing the Wales sensation back this season, leaving the door open for another club to pounce.
Cardiff City signing the £600k-per-week hometown hero would certainly be a transfer coup for the ages, and OddsChecker have revealed that the Championship side are now shock favourites to beat a host of MLS sides and the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea to sign him.
Given that Bale's current deal, which expires next summer, most likely sees him - even by conservative estimates - take home more than the whole of the Bluebirds squad put together, this would surely surely make it impossible for Cardiff to afford his services - unless they're luring him in with promises of unlimited rounds of golf with Mick McCarthy, that is.
Earlier in the month, his former Wales teammate Joe Ledley played down suggestions of such a sensational deal, and told BBC Sport: “He’s got another year at Madrid, I’d be surprised if he just terminates the (Real Madrid) contract.
“I’d love to see him at Cardiff, he would be on my door step as well. To have a player like Gareth for them (Cardiff), it would be an unbelievable signing but I can’t see it happening – I think Gareth will just see this contract out at Real Madrid.
“And for me, he’s still got that ability to be in that team if you look at how (Eden) Hazard’s done last season, he’s been very disappointing.
“I think Gareth can come on, could retain his starting place at Madrid, so it’s down to Gareth to see what he wants to do and with a new manager (Carlo Ancelotti) coming in, it’s a fresh start for him.”
Real Madrid themselves have had a quiet summer transfer window thus far, with Austrian ace David Alaba their only signing.
The club are set to tighten their belts this season, with the Covid-19 pandemic hitting their finances hard, along with a £500m stadium redevelopment project which will see the new-look Bernabeu boast a retractable roof, five-storey underground car park, and even a shopping centre.
Certainly, offloading Bale would help Los Blancos meet the requirements of their new La Liga-imposed wage cap, which, according to the Athletic, requires the club to trim their yearly payments to players by around £150m.
At his peak, Bale was arguably one of the best players in world football, and has racked up an impressive haul of four Champions League trophies and two La Liga titles since moving to the Spanish capital in a huge £85m transfer deal back in 2013.
At international level, the ex-Southampton ace is rapidly closing in one 100 senior caps for Wales, and played a key role in the side's push to the European Championship semi-finals back in 2016.