Gareth Bale to Join Manchester United in January Transfer Window?
It's fair to say that Gareth Bale's time at Real Madrid has had its share of ups and downs. From scoring winning goals in cup finals and landing numerous trophies, recent times have seen him blighted by injuries.
Bale hasn't kicked a ball for Madrid since hobbling off during their Champions League game versus Borussia Dortmund back in mid September where he picked up a calf injury.
And now recent reports have suggest that the Welsh superstar has picked up yet another injury that will keep him out of action for the rest of 2017 at the very least.
This elongated spell on the sidelines has come during a period of patchy form for Madrid, summed up perfectly by the humiliating 3-1 drubbing by Tottenham in the Champions League tie at Wembley a few weeks back.
As is often the case at the Spanish giants when the team goes through a tough spell of results, it sparks changes in personnel. And in this case, it is looking increasingly likely that Bale is going to be a casualty.
Reports have now emerged that Madrid have lost patience with their increasingly injury prone world record signing and are looking to move him on. Indeed, some reports even suggest that Madrid are looking to sell in January, meaning that Bale could have already played his last game for the club.
So where is Bale most likely to be heading? The two most obvious candidates are back in the Premier League with Manchester United and Tottenham.
United, and Mourinho in particular, have long been admirers of the Welsh wonder with Sir Alex Ferguson going on record saying how they let him slip through their fingers as a 17 year old.
And the link to Spurs is obvious due to his previous spell at the club who built him into an £85m player.
On the surface it would seem that United is the more likely destination for a number of reasons.
When it comes to transfer fees, United are no strangers to splashing the cash. Spending the reported £80m Madrid are asking for Bale would not be a stretch for them financially.
They are also drawn to attacking players and having Gareth Bale in their ranks would certainly spread fear into the competition.
However, there are definite drawbacks to this deal. At 28 years of age, any transfer for Bale would have to be seen as his final big move and thus unlikely to have any further resale value.
Whilst that may not be a problem if the buying club were to get 3-4 years of top notch service, we again return to his injury record to suggest that this is unlikely to be the case.
For a player whose game stems from his beastly physique and tremendous pace, it's fair to say that these are bound to take their toll on what Bale can fully deliver.
Would United be getting the Gareth Bale that tore up Inter Milan in the San Siro all those years ago? Almost certainly not. But there's no doubting that Bale still has an incredible amount to offer. We only need to look at how his performances for Wales in recent times have seen them reach the semi finals of the 2016 European Championships.
So would Gareth Bale fit in at United where he would face competition from the likes of Martial and Rashford in a similar wide attacking role.
There have been rumours that despite enjoying more playing time this season under Mourinho, Martial may still be available for the right price. And Rashford will surely look to step into a more dominant attacking striker role as his career progresses.
This means there would definitely be room for Bale at Old Trafford. Ultimately, we think that any deal for United to sign Bale will come down to fitness. If Bale can prove this latest injury spell is nothing to be concerned about, then even at £80m he could still look a snip.
When it comes to Gareth Bale on the Football Index, it seems safe to say that a Bale plus United combination would surely be a home run. Bale is still exceedingly popular in the British media and they have long been writing stories linking him with a move to Old Trafford.
He would also be a strong contender for Performance Buzz returns too which only adds to his value. Of course the danger is that even United feel a move is too risky and shy away from the deal. This could leave Bale's options much more limited and might even see him move to yet another foreign league.
If this were the case, then there is every chance Bale's Index value would drop dramatically.