Prepare to feel ill at the very mention of Gareth Bale, after Real agree to let him go
Apparently Real Madrid have had their lot of Gareth Bale. They've managed to squeeze just about enough out of his strained limbs and swollen muscles as they can, and decided to cash in before his brand depreciates and value drops any further. There's younger, brighter, shinier things out there to present to their hanky waving masses, than a structurally compromised 28-year-old (50 in footballer years).
The news comes from Spanish media outlet Diario Gol, which sounds just about exotic enough to be legit. It doesn't really matter though. Bale joined Real in 2013, and five years is more than most functioning Galacticos get - the fact that Bale hasn't been all that functioning at times doesn't help. It's obviously good news for Real - who'll get to cash in - and decent news for Bale, who will become a better paid, bigger fish in a smaller pond.
It's less positive for the rest of us. For whether you're a Spurs fan wishing for a famous return to North London, a Manchester United supporter giddy for another star signing, or just a mildly interested neutral, the next few months will become saturated with increasing tedious bollocks about where Bale will end up.
To save you some energy and time, here's a bit of what will definitely go down between now and whenever we're put out of our misery - either by friendly bombs for North Korea, or Bale actually committing to somewhere...
- Bale will stress how happy he is at Madrid, and that he has no intention of going anywhere. This will mention his love of the Spanish lifestyle, fondness for paella, and how determined he is to contribute to the club's ongoing success, not just this season but beyond;
- Bale's agent will angrily refute any suggestion that Real want to sell Bale. He'll dismiss the reports as 'ridiculous' and 'completely fictional'. At the exact same time, unnamed 'sources close to the player' will admit that he is open to a move to the right club/project;
- Newspapers will lead with regular back page splashes about how Bale is now Jose Mourinho's 'number one target', and that the Manchester United manager has given his board the 'green light' to go out and get the Welshman, as he's not prepared to 'miss out';
- Marca will run a poll amongst Real Madrid fans on which players they'd be most want to leave the club to make room for new signings. Bale will head the list with a 42% total. Someone random like Mateo Kovacic will come second with 21%;
- United fans will react with surprisingly underwhelmed opinions about signing the player. His fitness record will be questioned, as well as concerns that he's now 'past his best'. Some will complain he should have signed 'when he fucking well had the chance';
- Manchester City will suddenly be named as credible rivals for his signature, even though they don't need him, with Pep Guardiola having radical plans to 'reinvent' the player, probably deploying him in his original position of attacking leftback, or inverted inside-right or something.
- As soon as City are mentioned, United supporters will become unanimously desperate to sign Bale, and claim it would be a 'disaster' if they allowed him to go to the Etihad. Following on from this, City fans will be keen to sign him purely to wind up United fans;
- Spurs fans will keep stressing that they have first refusal on the player, and argue that he's always said lovely things about his time at the club. They'll remain bullish on the outside, whilst on the inside being acutely aware that Levy won't go above £45k/week and a £38.7m bid;
- Bale will admit that he is 'flattered' by interest from 'some of the biggest clubs in the world', despite his 'commitment' to staying at Real. But he will 'leave the door ajar' to a move by complimented every club he's been linked to - and a few he wants to be linked to;
- The tabloids will seek to inject some fresh interest into the story by going into swap-shop overdrive. Bale and David de Gea will be mooted in the same deal, as will Bale and Kane, Bale and Alli, Bale and Rashford, Bale and Martial, and Bale and De Bruyne;
- Chelsea will suddenly emerge as front-runners for the player's signature, even though they won't have a manager by then, but it doesn't matter because Roman Abramovich will have become 'enchanted' with the player at this point, and demand he is signed no matter what;
- Everton will be touted as serious challengers for Bale's signature, because why the fuck not;
- The World Cup will start, and so breaking transfer news of imminent deals will focus on players not locked away with international teammates in Russia. That will leave Gareth Bale, and Italian players who don't want to leave Italy;
- Real will demand obscene amounts of money for Bale, far beyond his market price, and argue that they are more than happy to keep hold of their prize asset. At the same time, they will offer £16m for David de Gea and hope he agitates for a move;
- Real will also start spreading spurious stories, via Marca and other mouthpieces, about Bale's sudden change in attitude, unprofessionalism, and out-of-control ego, so that the fans can learn to hate the player and be extra glad that they're getting rid;
- Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Spurs and Everton (?) will all become ever more strongly linked with a 'swoop' for the player as the new season approaches. Some of them will have had such a frustrating summer that'll panic themselves into bidding;
- Bale will be seen house hunting around London and Cheshire, although in this age of smartphones and video devices, no one will actually catch this on camera;
- Guillem Balague will claim an exclusive about the player's future, stating that X will definitely happen. Everyone on Twitter will quote him, and add 'Well that's that then, the [opposite of X] is happening'
- Bale will be seen at numerous airports and boarding dozens of private jets, and these will be tracked in real time by fans of all the interested parties, via flight radar dot com or something. Liverpool supporters will join in just for old times' sake;
- After months of conflicting speculation, almost a year of definite statements and absolute assumptions of where in England he'll end up, Paris Saint-Germain will announce the signing of Gareth Bale. No one will care because every fucker will be jizzing themselves over some Serbian/Uruguayan who had a good World Cup.