This article forms part of our Transfer Scenario feature, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at a recent transfer rumour and suggests what the potential consequences would be, should a deal be completed.
Reports over the last week have linked Real Madrid with making an audacious £70m offer to Manchester City for the services of Raheem Sterling – throwing in Gareth Bale to sweeten the deal for the Premier League champions.
Sky Sports reported that the Spanish giants were in the process of preparing a part-exchange bid for Sterling ahead of the upcoming international break, during which Madrid representatives are thought to be keen on watching the 24-year-old in action before finalising their proposal.
While some pundits believe such a move is unlikely, we investigate three possible scenarios that could unfold should City decide to go through with it, and welcome Bale to the Etihad Stadium in January…
Bale’s injury record will surely be of concern if City are to entertain Madrid’s reported impending offer, with the Welshman struggling to go a few months without fitness issues hampering his progress.
Now 30, the former Spurs winger’s troubles have got no better in recent seasons, and he is currently nursing a calf problem which has seen him miss out on Real Madrid’s last five matches.
With no indication that he has overcome this chronic injury bug of his, it could be that Bale becomes more accustomed to the Etihad treatment room than the football pitch should he and Sterling swap roles.
Keeping hold of Sane
The new arrival may not be bad news for all City players, however, for the likes of Leroy Sane – currently behind Sterling in the pecking order at the club – will surely provide a renewed competition for places on the left wing – particularly with Bale himself more often found on the right-hand side.
Although Sterling’s place in the squad seems even more assured with Sane out with a long-term knee injury, the German could become a future frontrunner for the left-wing slot, putting links to Bayern Munich to bed in the process.
The versatility of Bale and his would-be City teammates wouldn’t exactly make that a given should Sterling depart, but considering Sane started just 21 times in the league (to Sterling’s 31) last season, his first-team prospects will surely be given a boost without the England man to worry about.
Bale fails to fill Sterling void
One way or another, City may be left with the task of sufficiently replacing Sterling’s input to the team, which has already profited in the form of 13 goals in 15 games in all competitions this season.
That may prove a struggle for Bale himself to replicate, as for all the trophies he has won at Madrid, he is yet to top his best league goal tally of 21 from his Spurs days – and has netted just 10 times in La Liga since the start of last season.
Therefore, it does not look likely that Bale will be able to step directly into Sterling’s shoes should he become a City player – and therein lies the gamble as Madrid attempt to prise away one of their star men.
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