Gareth Bale’s four-year stint at the Bernabeu is coming to an end, according to the Manchester Evening News.
The 28-year-old Real Madrid winger who is a long-time target of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, has been told he can leave the Spanish capital next summer if the club receives an acceptable offer for his services.
Bale, determined to stay in Madrid for one last season, has found himself sidelined through injury and the persistent visits to the Bernabeu treatment room mark him as an expensive asset, whose return diminishes as each season passes.
He isn’t the only player the defending Spanish champions are set to offload; Zinedine Zidane has delivered a list to Florentino Perez, the Madrid president, of seven other players who are surplus to requirements.
The biggest surprise is the name of 32-year-old Luka Modric. Widely seen as a pivotal figure in the Real midfield, the Croatia international appears to find his age counting against him. Will his spectacular strike in the 6 – 0 drubbing of APOEL last night in Nicosia, change Zidane’s mind?
Others on the list are predominantly younger players although some were seen as the future of the club.
Borja Mayoral, 20, spent last season on loan at Wolfsburg, scoring twice in 19 appearances for the Bundesliga outfit. That poor return, despite a high number of matches where he emerged from the bench, played a part in convincing Zizou that the youngster wasn’t the predatory goalscorer they hoped.
Defenders Achraf Hakimi, 19, and Dani Ceballos, 21, are deemed unlikely to make the grade in the Bernabeu while Marcos Llorente, 22, despite a promising loan spell at Alaves last season, is set to be cast aside.
Older players Kiko Casilla, the 31-year-old goalkeeper, and 26-year-old winger Lucas Vasquez, who featured for Spain at Euro2016, will find the news of their departures disappointing but with Real needing major restructuring, the fees they bring in will serve the cause more than the seat they fill on the bench.