Back in 2013, I predicted early in the summer transfer window that Arsenal were going to sign Mesut Ozil.
It had nothing to do with being “in the know” (ITK) or having any sort of inside knowledge, it was just an educated guess.
With a squad already containing Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel di Maria playing behind Karim Benzema up top, Madrid had already invested €30M in 21 year old Spanish talent Isco. When I made the prediction over Ozil, they were making it clear Gareth Bale was going to be their Galatico signing of 2013.
What I foresaw was the Bale joining would leave 5 players – Ozil, Ronaldo, di Maria, Isco and Bale – fighting it out for 3 places. Players of that calibre do not sit on the bench. 5 into 3 does not go.
You could immediately strike a line through the recently signed Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo. Isxo would be happy to site behind Bale (et al) in the pecking order and Cristiano Ronaldo was, well, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Logic dictated that either Ozil or di Maria was likely to be the one cast aside. I tossed a coin and it came up Ozil. Incidentally it than transpired that both di Maria and Ozil were offered around Europe and di Maria left the next season to make way for James Rodriguez.
I looked at the sides who could afford Mesut Ozil around Europe. Italian teams could not afford him, Bayern Munich had just spent big on Mario Gotze. That left England.
Manchester Cuity already had David Silva, Samir Nasri & Yaya Toure. Chelsea had Eden Hazard, Oscar, Juan Mata, Frank Lampard and had just signed Andre Schurle and Willian. Manchester United had just parted ways with Sir Alex Ferguson, replacing him with David Moyes.
This left his most natural destination as Arsenal, if we were willing to fork out the money.
This season, I see a similar situation transpiring at Real Madrid.
Over the course of the season, Gareth Bale has lost his place in the Real Madrid side to the now fully developed Isco. Injury to Bale gave Isco his chance and he has taken it. He has now developed into one of Madrid’s stand out players. This leaves Bale in a situation that, upon regaining his fitness, he finds himself behind Isco, James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo for a starting place.
With Real Madrid’s transfer ban set to expire on 1st July, they will look to move for a big name, marquee player straight away. That player will likely be a forward. Probably Eden Hazard? It will leave them in a situation similar to that in 2013, where they will have to get rid of either Isco or Gareth Bale to make space for a new player.
Gareth Bale has already been heavily linked with Manchester United. It is supposedly his favoured destination. But with Manchester United also heavily linked with Antoine Griezmann – their number one target – and looking to secure Ivan Perisic in the next few days, the squad places for Bale look limited. Add in Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, I struggle to see where Bale would fit if they get Griezmann.
Obviously all bets are off in Atletico Madrid keep Griezmann – likely due to their transfer ban. Bale will then become Manchester United’s primary target.
With Manchester United off the table, that would still leave Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich as interested parties – I still do not believe Italian teams can afford his transfer cost and wages.
Man City have just spent big on Bernard Silva. With Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero and Leeroy Sane in their squad, it would leave them in a situation like Real Madrid. They would have to sell one of their current established players to make space for Bale. I can not see it happening.
Chelsea could do a deal to bring Bale back to London with Eden Hazard going the other way. It is a deal I could see happening.
Over in Germany, Bayern Munich are looking for a long term replacement for Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. They have recently invested time and money in Douglas Costa and Kinsley Coman, but a senior, proven forward would still be essential.
There first choice would be Alexis Sanchez.
If Sanchez does go to Bayern Munich, another door closes on Bale. But as another door closes, one will open. And that door is at Arsenal.
If Sanchez ends up in Germany next season, Arsenal need to make a big name signing to replace him. Like in 2013 when all the cards fell in place leading Ozil to join Arsenal from Madrid, the could happen again with Gareth Bale.
With Aaron Ramsey already at the club, and Bale already having lived in London for a few years, a move to Arsenal would interest him.
Arsenal can afford the transfer fee, and afford the wages. And what a statement that would make. One of the best players in the world, and someone who used to star for your rivals.
Could Arsenal end up with Gareth Bale in 2017/18? It could happen.
Of course, one thing that could stop it happening is if Real Madrid decide not to sell him. If that happens, it would mean that Isco could be the one that is moved on. If Bale stays, simply re-read the above but change the name ‘Bale’ for ‘Isco’.
Arsenal would make a huge statement if they signed either rIsco or Bale for Real Madrid, even if either Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil left the club.
It is going to be an exciting summer (hopefully) for Arsenal.