x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Real Madrid need to make some room for transfer target Gareth Bale

Spanish Primera Liga football club will require to recoup some money, so a few players could be leaving, writes Andy Mitten.

Angel Di Maria wants to stay but is one of the Real Madrid players who may be on his way out. Kevork Djansezian / AFP
Angel Di Maria wants to stay but is one of the Real Madrid players who may be on his way out. Kevork Djansezian / AFP
Even before Gareth Bale's anticipated arrival, Real Madrid's squad contains more individual talent than any in football.

The biggest clubs have two players for each position, Madrid have three, in several positions. They already boast 11 midfielders to fill their five midfield positions behind a single front man - and Madrid may add another striker.

Angel di Maria, Isco, Mesut Ozil, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Luca Modric, Sami Khedira and the youthful new additions Asier Illarramendi, Casemiro and Jese are all fighting to play.

That is a lot of quality, but also too many players to keep content, given only five of them are likely to start a match.

There will be injuries - Alonso and Khedira are out of action, at present - but that does not really solve the problem.

Di Maria and Ozil are the most likely to depart. Di Maria was man of the match in Monday's limp 1-0 league victory over Granada. Ozil was substituted and walked straight off into the tunnel, looking none too happy.

The Argentine has been linked to moves to England, while the father of the German-born Turkey international reportedly has been speaking on behalf of his son to other clubs, including Manchester United, who initially declined to further their interest.

Ozil now appears to want to stay at Madrid. He said Wednesday: "I feel really good at Madrid. I have a contract here until 2016. I feel very good here and get on really well with my teammates. I want success here. There has been a lot written in the media, talk of some other options, but I have a contract and I am staying with Real Madrid."

Madrid want to recoup some of the money they will be paying for Bale - not that they are paying it all at once. Madrid wanted to pay in six instalments; Tottenham Hotspur want as much as possible up front. That is one of the reasons for the impasse.

Where Bale will fit in is a question only Carlo Ancelotti can answer. Fortunately, Bale is the most versatile player in world football and can operate in several positions across the middle and in defence.

The midfielders who depart Madrid should not get too disheartened, either.

The former Madrid winger Arjen Robben went on to become a Uefa Champions League winner with Bayern Munich. His compatriot Wesley Sneijder did the same with Inter Milan. Meanwhile, Madrid have not won the Champions League since 2002.

Having Madrid on your CV often guarantees a pay rise and a superior status at your next club. More money, more minutes and more likelihood of winning the Champions League? Life is not all bad after the Bernabeu.


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