Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 15 November 2019

Gareth Bale's move to China officially off after Jiangsu Suning sign Ivan Santini

Real Madrid pulled the deal on Sunday, with the Welsh forward now expected to remain at the club despite manager Zinedine Zidane's desire for him to leave

Gareth Bale was expected to leave Real Madrid for the Chinese Super League but the move has collapsed. Reuters
Gareth Bale was expected to leave Real Madrid for the Chinese Super League but the move has collapsed. Reuters

Gareth Bale's proposed move to Jiangsu Suning has officially been called off after the Chinese Super League (CSL) club announced the signing of Croatian forward Ivan Santini on Monday.

CSL rules dictate that each club is limited to registering six foreign players over the course of the season, with four foreigners allowed on the team at any one time.

Santini's arrival from Belgian club Anderlecht means Jiangsu have filled their foreign quota. Brazilians Miranda and Alex Teixeira, and Italian striker Eder are already on the club's books.

Like Real Madrid's Bale, Santini is aged 30 and an attacker, although he enjoys nothing like the profile or reputation of the pacy Welshman. He is also highly unlikely to be earning a similar salary to the one Bale had reportedly agreed with Jiangsu, which would have earned the former Tottenham Hotspur star £1 million (Dh4.55m) per week for the next three years.

With the Chinese transfer window closing on Wednesday, Jiangsu moved for Santini, saying: "He will greatly enrich the team's offensive tactics in the Chinese Super League."

It comes a day after Bale's move to China collapsed because of wrangling between Real Madrid and Jiangsu over the transfer fee. The introduction of a 100 per cent tax on transfer fees spent on overseas players - introduced to help pump money back into Chinese football - has limited many clubs from spending the exorbitant amounts that became common in 2017.

With Jiangsu unwilling to pay a significant transfer fee - and Real Madrid keen to recoup something of the then world record £85m they spent on Bale in 2013 - Madrid president Florentino Perez called off the deal.

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Gareth Bale's nine biggest moments for Real Madrid

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As a result, media reports on Monday claim Bale has been left unhappy with Perez as the Welsh forward has no interest in any other move. Indeed, interest in Bale from Europe's top clubs as been minimal due to his expected wage demands, age, and recent injury record.

Real manager Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his wish to get rid of Bale and said he thought it would be "best for everyone" if his departure could be arranged quickly.

Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, described Zidane as a "disgrace" for being "disrespectful" of a player who helped the side to a Spanish league title and four Champions Leagues since arriving from Tottenham six years ago.

While Zidane has no plans for Bale, the forward has been involved on Madrid's pre-season, scoring in the 2-2 draw against Arsenal and coming off the bench in the 7-3 defeat to rivals Atletico Madrid.

However, injuries have limited Bale to fewer than 80 starts in La Liga in the last four seasons. He has also been the subject of criticism in the Spanish media for his struggles with the language, and for the amount of time he spent on the golf course.

Updated: July 29, 2019 07:31 PM

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