Injury woes, inconsistent form, and critical supporters falling out of love with him this season have combined together to sum up a rather difficult second campaign for Gareth Bale with Real Madrid. The speedy Welshman is being tipped for a return to the Premier League as a result. His fitness continues to be called into question, and rumours linking him with a big-money move back to England are not going away in a hurry.
Bale, 25, is still enjoying a decent run in front of goal, scoring 17 goals in all competitions this season, but the supporters have been very critical of his form. The Welsh international has been booed off by Real Madrid fans during the campaign, and it is clear they feel he has been playing below his best after a dream debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu.
It was always going to be hard to top scoring the winner in the Copa Del Rey final and to score the goal to give Real the lead in the Champions League final. Bale has not come close to replicating the decisiveness and magic he showcased in 2013/14, and his time in Spain could be coming to a premature end.
Manchester United are one of the clubs who continue to be linked with the former Tottenham man, as they have been interested in Bale for years, though they never made an offer. They have the funds to meet Real’s demands, and could well succeed in their approach, with Real having the likes of James Rodriguez and Isco who can easily compensate for the loss of Bale.
The Red Devils have other options as well such as doing a swap deal with Angel Di Maria going in the opposite direction. The Argentina international has struggled for form for large parts of the season since his move from Real, and he would welcome a return to Spain. However, it is all mere speculation for the time being, and Bale has not made any public comments about wanting an exit this summer. It is also unlikely that Di Maria would be brought back to Madrid. A more likely scenario, however, is goalkeeper David de Gea moving to Madrid while Bale heads back to the Premier League. Of course, Manchester would also include some cash in the deal to close the gap in valuation of the two players.
There are plenty of factors that could see a move transpiring, as Bale would likely jump at the chance to work with former Wales legend Ryan Giggs, who is currently the assistant manager at Old Trafford. He would also be keen on a Premier League return where he was far more comfortable in his surroundings, and where he can play under less pressure. Finally, he would not have to take a big pay-cut to join Manchester, as United have sufficient funds to make the acquisition they need.
So could Gareth Bale return to the Premier League this summer?