Focus Update: Gareth Bale
Our Focus Update looks at Gareth Bale's future as the Tottenham forward continues to make plenty of headlines in this summer's transfer window.
- Related Content
Gareth Bale's future continues to provide plenty of interest this summer so now seems like a very good time to bring you a Focus Update following our previous Transfer Focus on the Tottenham forward.
It's still unclear if the Welshman will be lining up again for Spurs next season with Sky Bet pricing the Welshman at 8/15 to stay at White Hart Lane and 11/8 to move on.
Real Madrid have been incredibly persistent in their pursuit of the 23-year-old and the Spanish giants are the joint-favourites at 9/4 with Manchester United in Sky Bet's next Gareth Bale club market.
There have been fewer noises coming out of Old Trafford but don't rule out a move north just because of that. There's still plenty of time before that famous window slams shut!
So what's the latest in one of this summer's main transfer sagas? Focus Update investigates....
Who Wants Him?
Manchester United (9/4 to sign Bale this summer with Sky Bet): David Moyes is the new man in charge at Manchester United and there has been speculation since his arrival that a stellar signing is on the way to join him. Bale and Cristinao Ronaldo are the two names mentioned most frequently and either of the stars would surely be given a hearty welcome by the Old Trafford faithful. Real Madrid still appears the more likely destination for the Wales international but it's far from impossible for a big-money offer to go in from the Red Devils.
Real Madrid (9/4): There have been plenty of key figures from the Bernabeu with something to say about Bale this summer as you will see further down this feature. We have seen this approach before and Tottenham don't need reminding that Luka Modric joined Real a year ago after a prolonged period of speculation. New manager Carlo Ancelotti is now in place at the club and the acquisition of the Spurs star would clearly send out a positive message at the start of his reign. Expect the rumours to centre on the Spanish capital as the summer rolls on.
Barcelona (16/1): A move to Barcelona looks unlikely with Brazilian ace Neymar already making the switch to the Nou Camp this summer. That sees the former Santos forward line up with Lionel Messi for Tito Vilanova's side next term and it's hard to see them going for another star name to add to an already full attacking roster. Opposition defenders will certainly hope Bale doesn't arrive at Barca and they will more than likely get their wish.
Also available with Sky Bet: Chelsea (33/1), Manchester City (33/1), Bayern Munich (50/1), PSG (50/1), AC Milan (100/1), Borussia Dortmund (100/1), Inter Milan (100/1).
Sky Bet's Chris Spicer says: "Our betting suggests that the battle to sign Gareth Bale is now a two horse race with Manchester United and Real Madrid both vying for the Tottenham forward.
"They are both 9/4 to sign the Welshman as the two new managers look to make a big impact at their respective clubs.
"The interesting selection in the book is Manchester City at 33/1 as they look set to lose out on Isco. They may view Bale as a similarly exciting signing and they certainly have the capital to do a deal.
"Despite Madrid and United heading the betting on him leaving, we still make him clear odds on to stay.
"Daniel Levy has so far been very bullish about retaining the former Southampton player and noises from Bale's camp suggest he is fairly happy with his situation in North London.
"The betting from Sky Bet clients supports the view that Tottenham can retain him having back the 'Stay at Tottenham' selection from 5/6 into 8/15."
2012/13 season 52 games, 31 goals - includes a hat-trick in Tottenham's 4-0 win over Aston Villa and a goal of the season contender in the 3-2 victory against West Ham.
2011/12 season 47 games, 15 goals - includes three doubles for Tottenham (in the 3-1 victory at home to QPR, the 2-0 win at Norwich and the 3-1 win over Wigan).
International record 41 games, 11 goals - having rejected the opportunity to play for England, who he was eligible for through his grandmother, Bale became the youngest player ever to score for the Wales in the Euro 2008 qualification match against Slovakia. He is now a firm fixture on Chris Coleman's team sheet and scored a wonderful double as Wales beat Scotland 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier back in October.
On 17 April 2006, at the age of 16 years and 275 days, Bale became the second youngest player ever to play for Southampton
Bale played a record 24 Premier League matches for Spurs without being on the winning side. His run came to an end on September 26, 2009 when he appeared as a substitute in Tottenham's 5-0 thrashing of Burnley.
Bale does not drink alcohol, claiming in a Mail Online interview in 2010: "I have no problem with players who do have a drink. I just don't like the taste. That's simply how it is."
Bloomberg Sports ranked Bale ninth in this year's list of Europe's top players. Lionel Messi topped the standings ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery.
What Bale Says
June 2013: "He (Andre Villas-Boas) has helped me in all aspects of my game. In training we have been working on things that I can do in games and in games he has given me the confidence to do what I want and do what I do best, which is a massive thing for a player. Everyone was excited about him coming in. He is a young manager and he has got a great past at Porto. Maybe not so much at Chelsea but given time, like he has been this season, he has shown what a good manager he is. It has been a very exciting time for the club. He has tried his new tactics, his new style of play with us. Sometimes it does take a bit of time just to get used to it and at the start of the season I think that was a bit difficult. But we adapted and got stronger and stronger." Spurs TV
March 2013: "It's flattering (on being compared with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo), but I don't really look too much into it. I don't get the newspapers or read too many reports, so I don't really know how much hype there is. Obviously my friends tell me things, but I just treat every day as normal and focus on my job."
June 2012: "The club is progressing and I want to be a part of that, so it was great to get the deal done." (After signing a new four-year deal).
What Others Say
June 2013, Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas: "The chairman said that we are not open to offers, whatever they are, and that the player will stay. In football anything can happen, but these are the guarantees given to me. There was a moment last season when Gareth came to me because he was not comfortable out on the pitch. I do not know if it was my response or that he was glad to relieve the stress, but after that he became confident and played with freedom. He felt important and finished the year in style." O Jogo
June 2013, Real Madrid sporting director Zinedine Zidane: "If Gareth feels now is the time to move then he has to have a private discussion with his club and express that he wants to leave. I think Real Madrid have made their admiration of Gareth Bale very clear - and it has been made clear that we would not be put off by the cost of the player." Sunday People
June 2013, Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric: "It is a complicated issue for me because I was at Tottenham with him. I can tell you that we're friends and that he is an exceptional player. A club like Real Madrid, Tottenham or anyone else can only benefit from having a player like that. If he signs or not is a matter for the clubs, but if he ends up at Real Madrid that can only be good for us. As Real Madrid is a team of stars, Bale would fit perfectly. He would give us a different dimension. He can shoot, has strength and speed and is the type of player who could help us take a step forward." Marca
June 2013, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez: "Madrid always want the best. Tottenham is a very amicable club, but first we must see who our new coach will be and after that we will begin to arrange our new squad. I think the same as if we were to have a tennis team and Rafael Nadal asked me for these millions. For players like this - the investment they generate you and the revenue they produce, you can give everything to try and get them. I demonstrated in 2000 that with players like this you can change the dynamic, going from losing to winning. Then you have to look carefully at the player involved. We are not going to talk too much about Bale because he plays at a very amicable club and they will be annoyed by too much talk about him I know their chairman well and he doesn't like things like that. But I repeat, we have a long list, but there will be one particular player, of course." Marca
June 2013, Tottenham coach Tim Sherwood: "Gareth's fantastically happy at Tottenham. I see him around the training ground every day. He's got a good relationship with the manager and loves his team-mates. They show him the respect that he deserves and he gives it back to them. I don't see him banging the door down trying to get a move. I believe one million per cent he will stay. There will be a lot of clubs wanting to take Gareth but he's 23 and has good advisors. There's a time for him to go overseas or to another Premier League club but I think he needs to stay here." Daily Star Sunday
February 2013, Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas: "Most teams have to hang on to their best players, Barcelona losing Messi would be a disaster, Real Madrid losing Ronaldo would be a disaster so this is exactly the same."
Sunday Express, June 23 - New Manchester United manager David Moyes returns from holiday this week determined to make a spectacular signing, with Gareth Bale, Cesc Fabregas, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo all possible options.
The Sun, June 21 - Andre Villas-Boas says Real Madrid's pursuit of Gareth Bale is a complete waste of time.
Daily Mirror, June 20 - Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has flown to London as the Spanish giants step up their pursuit of Gareth Bale.
Daily Mirror, June 19 - Real Madrid have stepped up their bid to land £85m Gareth Bale by reserving the number 11 shirt for him.
Daily Mirror, June 17 - Paris Saint-Germain have offered to buy Gareth Bale in a bid to lure Andre Villas-Boas to the French capital.
The Sun, June 14 - Manchester United are ready to smash the world transfer record for Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale to prove there is life after Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Sun, June 13 - Manchester United hope an £85m move from Real Madrid for Tottenham frontman Gareth Bale will pave the way for them to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from the Spanish club.
Daily Mail, June 13 Paris St Germain are prepared to outbid Real Madrid in the £85million battle to sign Gareth Bale.
Sporting Life, June 17 (@SportingLife) - Gareth Bale could make up to £3million a year if he can trademark his 'Eleven of Hearts' goal celebration logo
WhoScored.com, June 14 (@WhoScored) - Gareth Bale: Only 27 of the 98 teams in Europe's top 5 leagues scored more goals from outside the area this season than Bale did alone (9)
Sky Sports Football, June 14 (@SkyFootball) - After the polling, an enormous 83% of you would rather Cristiano Ronaldo to Gareth Bale at your club...
OptaJoe, May 19 (@OptaJoe) - 4 - Gareth Bale has been shown four yellow cards for simulation in the Premier League this season, more than any other player. Tumble.