Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale is close to completing a transfer to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning that would pay the Welshman more than $1.2 million a week, according to multiple reports.
The 30-year-old has helped Real win four UEFA Champions League titles since moving from England’s Tottenham Hotspur in 2013, scoring twice in last year’s final win over Liverpool. Still, the oft-injured winger has been deemed surplus to requirements by manager Zinedine Zidane, who is eager to get Bale’s astronomical salary off the club’s books before Europe’s transfer window closes at the end of the month.
Top clubs across the continent have balked at paying Bale’s wages but apparently that won’t be a problem for Jiangsu Suning, which is looking for its first Chinese Super League title after a pair of runner-up finishes in recent years.
The BBC cited “sources close to Wales' record goalscorer” who confirmed reports in Spain that negotiations between Bale’s reps and the club are in the final stages. On Saturday, Sky Sports reported that Jiangsu Suning believe they’ll get the deal for Bale — who earns $39 million a season — across the finish line.
Zidane has talked openly during the preseason about his desire to sell Bale, to the point where Bale’s agent publicly accused the club legend of disrespecting the player. In response, French boss insisted that the decision wasn’t personal.
Bale was held out of Real’s 3-1 International Champions Cup loss to Bayern Munich on July 20, but he came off the bench in each of the team’s last two tuneups in the event, Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal in suburban Washington, D.C. and an embarrassing 7-3 defeat Friday to local rival Atletico Madrid just outside of New York City. He could be gone before Real meets his former club Spurs in the semifinals of the Audi Cup — another preseason tourney — on July 30.
Bale has scored 78 times in 155 La Liga matches for Real Madrid. Cardiff native, who also has 31 goals in 77 appearances for his country, began his professional career with Southhampton in 2006.