Signing Gareth Bale on loan from Real Madrid could prove to be a shrewd piece of summer business for Manchester United. But if things do in fact get to that stage, it will be because the Old Trafford club have already failed in their long-standing primary summer objective.
Jadon Sancho is the player United want, the player they identified more than a year ago as the ideal solution to the long-vacant right-back spot, and the player they have ‘ were confident.
Man Utd are only interested in Bale as they have so far failed to sign Jaden Sancho / Lars Baron / Getty Images
But United are unable to negotiate a fee they consider acceptable with Borussia Dortmund – the Bundesliga side are firmly stuck at their €120m (£108m) valuation – despite Sancho’s willingness to return to England. There is no sign of a deal. .
Unless they agree to take the cash – no guarantee given the financial climate amid the coronavirus crisis – Ed Woodward and his negotiating team have another year of reduced attacking options. Facing up until they see an alternative. .
Bale, whose relationship with Real Madrid now seems beyond repair, has popped up on the radar as a possible option in that regard. The 31-year-old Welshman, who United tried to sign as a teenager at Southampton and later bypassed Real to buy Tottenham in 2013, is a different type of player to Sancho, but The arrival of will increase the team. .
A fit and motivated bull is still an asset to any team. A move away from Madrid, while he is still enjoying the Spanish lifestyle, could also be the fresh start he needs to restart his stalled career.
Bale badly needs a fresh start Real Madrid/Dennis Doyle/Getty Images
With four Champions League titles to his name – and an active role in winning three of them – Bale should have nothing to prove. But he does, as has been the case over the past 12 months in the Spanish capital.
The problem for United is that it would be a deal that requires negotiating skills that seem to have outstripped the authorities at Old Trafford over the past seven years.
First is the issue of him being on loan, which Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett bluntly dismissed as recently as July: “The best players in the world don’t go out on loan.”
As much as anything, this bale appears to be a status item for the camp. United, not at least sensibly interested in a permanent deal because it does not fit their long-term strategy, will have to convince Barnett that a loan is in their best interests.
Likewise, Woodward and chief negotiator Matt Judge will have to deftly convince Bale to take a pay cut to join United, or for Real to subsidize his wages for a year in Manchester. It is some work and man has not covered himself in glory when it comes to transactions.
With such a poor record to look back on, United fans can hardly be full of hope.
Objectively, if a suitable deal is possible, Bale would not be a bad addition to the United squad this summer if he is motivated to play for the club. But if it does come to light, what it will represent is an overall failure in the transfer market that has reached this stage.
It does not change that if the Sancho negotiations had succeeded, the Bell agenda would not have been included.
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