Time is now right for Bale to swap Madrid for Reds
AT the age of 28, Gareth Bale needs to choose his next move wisely.
The Welshman turns 29 next summer. By no means will he be ready for the scraphead.
Just a look at his Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo’s enduring brilliance aged 32 - should serve as inspiration.
But at this stage of his career, Bale may find his options shortening.
And amid the latest talk in Spain that Real are ready to cash-in on him, he needs to think carefully.
This is not the first time such whispers have surfaced.
In fact, Bale’s Bernabeu future has been the source of speculation almost from the moment he headed to the Spanish giants in 2013.
His determination to forge a remarkable career at Real, in spite of that, is just part of what makes him one of the players of his generation - one of the greatest British exports of all time.
His attitude has long been ‘Why on earth would I leave?’
Even in the face of perennial interest from United, Bale’s devotion to trophy collecting in Spain has so far seen him brush off all attempts to lure him to Old Trafford.
Perhaps now is the time to reconsider.
It would be no surprise to see him hold aloft another Champions League trophy at the end of the season.
That tends to be how the script goes with Bale - a year of speculation, another trophy.
But with the emergence of Isco and Marco Asensio, his position has rarely looked so precarious.
And should the opportunity to head to United present itself next summer, it may well be his last.
Should he stubbornly stand firm again, he will enter the uncertainty of his 30s.
In his 30s would a truly elite club like United be prepared to offer him a long-term contract?
Would they be prepared to meet a price tag of ‘close to £86m’ which is being quoted in Spain?
Would an extra year in Madrid be worth that? Maybe so. Bale has backed himself so far and few could claim it hasn’t paid off.
His personal haul of three Champions League titles are as many as United have won in their entire history.
And at this moment in time, he looks a better bet to win a fourth before United.
Alternatively, he could become the final piece of a squad Jose Mourinho is building with the target of conquering Europe once more.
By the end of the season, the timing could be perfect for all parties.