Bale to China ’90 per cent done’ before Real scuppered deal

Real Madrid

Jiangsu Suning manager Cosmin Olaroiu says a deal for Gareth Bale was all but done before a change in Real Madrid's demands forced them to cancel the transfer.

It appeared the Wales international was destined to leave the Bernabeu during the summer after a falling out with Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane.

The 30-year-old was unhappy with how the French tactician had used him during the 2018/19 campaign, while the pair had a chequered past from Zidane’s first stint as head coach, and Bale was actively searching for a way out during the summer transfer window.

However, his wages proved prohibitive for most interested parties and only Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning made a serious attempt to drag him away from Real.

They were willing to make Bale the highest-paid player in the world and Olaroiu says the two parties had come to an agreement on the terms of his contract.

Real Madrid were initially willing to let the ex-Tottenham man move on for free but then changed their mind at the last minute, putting pay to Jiangsu Suning.

The Nanjing-based outfit would have had to pay a massive tax charge had they been forced to pay a transfer fee for Bale as per a change in the rules governing foreign players being brought in to the Chinese Super League.

In an interview with The National, Olaroiu revealed just how close they came to pulling off a transfer coup by landing Bale, saying: “The club had met and agreed a deal with his agent in Madrid, but then at the last minute, Real Madrid changed their mind.

“At first they were happy for us to just pay his wages, with no transfer fee, but that changed.

“Paying a transfer fee, and his wages, was over our budget, so we looked for another player.”

Since the deal fell through, Zidane and Bale have claimed to be trying to patch up their differences, although the Welsh forward continues to struggle for regular gametime, making 17 appearances in all competitions this season.

Bale was left out of the squad for Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Levante in La Liga due to illness but could get more opportunities now after Eden Hazard suffered a broken ankle in the clash in Valencia.