Gareth Bale

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Transfer rumor roundup: Bale to Bayern; Saliba to Arsenal

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The transfer window is officially open again and that means one thing: transfer reports are going to start kicking up a few notches.

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Here’s a look at some of the latest gossip from around the PL and Europe…

The Sun report that Bayern Munich want to sign Gareth Bale, 29, on loan for the 2019-20 campaign.

Bale is out of favor with new manager Zinedine Zidane and with Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic already arriving as new attackers in the hugely expensive summer rebuild, Real have to move some big names on. Bale, despite winning four UEFA Champions League titles in six seasons at Real, is at the top of that list.

Per the report, Bale is keen on moving to Bayern for the season so he can play regularly as he knows his time at Real is all but up. That said, he isn’t willing to move back to the Premier League and give up his staggering salary of $440,000 per week. It is believed Bayern will pay his wages and the Bundesliga champs are eager to add to their attacking options out wide after losing both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben over the summer. Man United and Tottenham have been suggested as possible destinations for Bale, but his wages would mean he is out of reach.

Real’s fans have turned on Bale time and time again in recent seasons and in 2018-19 he was jeered on numerous occasions and the fans at the Santiago Bernabeu do not want him to return next season. If Bale doesn’t want to give up his lucrative contract, a loan move makes sense. Heading to Bayern, a team which will challenge for the domestic and European title, isn’t a bad place for him to go and play regularly and enjoy his football again.

Arsenal appear to be moving closes to signing Saint-Etienne youngster Wiliam Saliba.

According to Foot Mercato in France an agreement has been reached between Arsenal and the 18-year-old center back, with negotiations ongoing between the two clubs over a transfer fee. Other reports state that the deal isn’t as close as that and a compromise of Saliba being loaned back for next season isn’t something Arsenal want to do.

Whatever happens, this is the kind of signing the Gunners have to make this summer and beyond.

Saliba was a regular in the second half of the season for Saint-Etienne in 2018-19 and made 19 appearances in his first campaign as a professional. The French youth international is valued at around $30 million and both Man City and Man United are said to have been tracking his progress.

This move makes a lot of sense for Arsenal.

Defensively they need big improvements and after spending big on Shkodran Mustafi in the past, they’ve had their fingers burned as everyone knows they are desperate to shore up a leaky defense. Unai Emery‘s men conceded 51 goals last season and that was the main reason they finished outside of the top four in the Premier League. Laurent Koscielny and Mustafi are on the outside looking in when it comes to the starting lineup, while Sokratis is the only new defensive addition who has really improved their solidity in recent years.

Saliba may well be a signing for the future, but that is now what Arsenal, like Manchester United, must do if they’re going to have a long-term to not only get back into the top four but challenge for the PL title again.

Zidane bristles when asked why he didn’t use Bale

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Zinedine Zidane bristled when asked why he did not use Gareth Bale on Sunday in what could’ve been the Welsh forward’s last home match for Real Madrid.

It’s worth noting that Real had just lost 2-0 to Real Betis at the Bernabeu, and Zidane couldn’t have been in a decent mood as the wayward side finished third on the table.

[ MORE: Kompany finds new/old club ]

The 29-year-old Bale did not play in Real’s final three matches of the season, was blanked in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals against Ajax, and has not scored since March. He finished the season with 14 goals and six assists in 42 appearances. From The Manchester Evening News:

“I have counted on other players in more in recent weeks, and if I had a fourth substitute today I would not have brought him on.

“I make these decisions when it is right to do so, and I must act in the best interests of the team at all times.”

Zidane would not commit to Bale being with Madrid for their preseason tour of the United States, saying “anything could happen” while insinuating that the player was part of Real’s past.

Bale’s agent insists Welsh international is ‘100 percent’ committed to Real Madrid

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Every week, the rumors and reports intensify stating this is for certain Gareth Bale‘s last spring at Real Madrid, with the Welshman set to depart after six years.

And yet again and again, Bale’s agent comes out to deny what appears to be nearly fact.

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Speaking to the BBC, Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett insisted that Bale is happy and wants to remain at Real Madrid, despite clear disagreements with manager Zinedine Zidane.

“Gareth is 100 percent committed to Real Madrid,” Barnett told the BBC, adding that nothing had changed from Barnett’s recent statement that Bale wanted to finish his career wearing the famous white shirt of La Real.

It’s a surprising twist in a transfer saga that’s had enough to movement to satisfy even the hungriest transfer rumor fans among us. Bale seemed out a year ago, but his outstanding goal in the UEFA Champions League final effectively earned him another season at the Santiago Bernabeu, especially with on-field rival Cristiano Ronaldo gone to Juventus and Zidane deciding to resign before the summer.

And yet, Bale never lived up to the lofty expectations, and he’s certainly been present for some of the club’s most embarrassing results.

Bale has scored just 11 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions, as Real Madrid look set to fail to finish in the top two, as well as nearly 20 points behind Barcelona in what’s been a forgettable season.

Of course, the issue with Bale is that he can’t really move anywhere unless he’s willing to take a paycut, or Real Madrid are willing to offload him for a much-smaller fee than it paid for him. Bale’s depreciated badly and while he could still be world class in a specific system, there’s not many teams who seem built to take advantage of his speed and ability on the wings, along with a good, but not world class finishing ability.

Perhaps he could move back to Tottenham or even Manchester United, though with the latter, he may not be in the UEFA Champions League, which could give him pause.

Either way, expect the rumor mill to keep on churning, and we’ll see which way it turns for Bale in his ongoing transfer saga.

Pogba reportedly ready to leave Man Utd; But where would he go?

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Paul Pogba doesn’t intend to be at Manchester United for much longer, according to a report from L’Equipe.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s best player has reportedly told some teammates that he plans to leave the Old Trafford club this summer, three years removed from his spectacular return from Juventus.

[ MORE: Solskjaer, Pep trade jabs ]

Rumors of a connection with Real Madrid have persisted, and Pep Guardiola was asked earlier Tuesday about an offer extended the way of Man City (Guardiola vehemently denied it).

Perhaps United does want to move on from the 26-year-old. We’ll play along. Here are a few sensational moves that could make some sense for both player and United.

Real Madrid: Remember 2009? That’s when an aging Real Madrid lost La Liga to Barcelona by nine points, led in scoring by Raul (aged 32), Ruud van Nistelrooy (32), and Gonzalo Higuain (21). They turned to Manchester United for a splashy buy of Cristiano Ronaldo, assuming he had higher levels to reach in his career.

Equating Pogba to one of the greatest players of all-time is silly at this stage, but Real will make some massive splashes this summer (perhaps Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, and Pogba?). Imagine that trio combining with a healthy Vinicius Junior.

Real could part ways with Raphael Varane, who seems to want to taste the Premier League, and maybe Gareth Bale could also return to the league.

PSG: You though Alexis Sanchez for Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a sexy swap?The fun of such deals continues with one for the ages. Heading to Paris would be French World Cup hero Pogba. Going to United: former rumor mill darling Neymar. To borrow a phrase from Twitter trade prognosticators: Who says no?

Juventus: Given the way teams in Italy tend to extend stars vitality and careers, Pogba’s essentially a baby by their standards. Cristiano Ronaldo has committed to The Old Lady and the club’s fan base is essentially yawning at scudetti. Pogba could form an incredible midfield under Ronaldo, teaming with Miralem Pjanic and Emre Can. The challenge here is the sum of money Juve would have to unload for Pogba, presuming it doesn’t part ways with Paulo Dybala (though Moise Kean is ready for prime time).

Zidane: I can count on Bale, Isco at Real Madrid

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Zinedine Zidane says he’s not going to talk about other team’s players, except that he’s also going to talk about them… vaguely.

The recently rehired Real Madrid boss (say that five times fast) was asked about the possibility of his side splashing mega cash to bring Kylian Mbappe and Neymar to the Bernabeu on the heels of this three-manager disappointment of a season.

[ MORE: Analyzing the UCL draw ]

“I’m not going to talk about a player that isn’t mine,” Zidane explained, via “What I can tell you is that those two players have a lot of quality.”

He went on to say that one of those players, and he wouldn’t name names, was young and French and an absolute monster. We’re kidding, but you get the joke.

Zidane named out-of-favor Isco and Marcelo back in his squad, as Real hopes to stop the rot and build for next season because, well, he cannot have any other aims.

Real is 15 points back of Barcelona with neither an El Clasico nor a Madrid Derby on his fixture list. It’s also 10 points clear of fifth place, so qualifying for Europe isn’t a worry, and Real has already been dismissed from the Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League.

Yes, it’s all very, very weird.

Zidane says he’s going to “count on” Isco and Gareth Bale, who haven’t had their usual seasons for Los Blancos, saying specifically of the Welshman:

“I’m not going to speak about Bale’s season up to this point. There are 11 matches left to play and I’m going to count on him. I’m going to repeat myself a lot here, but Gareth is ready to play.”