Who will sign Real Madrid misfit Gareth Bale FOR FREE this summer?

Leigh Copson:

The football world may be on hold right now, but that does not appear to be slowing Real Madrid down in their quest to get rid of misfit Gareth Bale!

The 30-year-old winger has become an unwanted figure at the Spanish club since Zinedine Zidane returned for a second stint as manager, and their attempts to offload him to the big-spending Chinese Super League last summer ended in failure when the deal collapsed.

That has not provided Bale with a Real reprieve though – they still want rid of the former Tottenham Hotspur star and the latest reports have claimed that they are so desperate to get him off the books that they are willing to let him go for free despite his contract not expiring for another two years.

Bale is believed to be earning around £350,000-a-week on his current deal and Real believe that colossal figure is turning off potential suitors, so the Spanish giants believe they can tempt another club to finally come in for him by waving the fee for a man they reportedly paid a then world record £85million for in 2013.

If that is true it tells you just how far Bale’s stock has fallen at the Bernabeu – but how does his stock stand in the rest of the football world? Will one of European football’s other big guns – who can afford his wages – make a play to finally end the Welshman’s Spanish hell this summer?

Surprise, surprise. Manchester United are at the front of the queue. No matter who has filled the manager’s seat over the past several years, the Red Devils have always been a leading contender to land Bale’s signature.

David Moyes wanted Bale. Louis van Gaal wanted Bale. Jose Mourinho wanted Bale. And now it appears as though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may want Bale too, with 888Sport making Manchester United the 6/4 favourites to secure the Welshman’s services now that he can be plucked out of football’s transfer fee bargain bin.

“News has emerged from Spain overnight that Real Madrid are set to get rid of Gareth Bale this summer,” an 888Sport spokesperson told Bettingpro.com. “That means the move to Manchester United that has been rumoured for years could finally happen.

“United have been long-term admirers of Bale, even since the days of David Moyes, and we think this could be the time this move finally comes off for the Welshman.”

Manchester United could face some serious competition though.

Neighbours Manchester City are 2/1 second favourites and could clearly afford his massive wages, while a return to Tottenham Hotspur, now manager by long-time Bale fan Mourinho, is not being ruled out either and is as short as 3/1 at this time.

A return to London with Chelsea is available at 5/1, while it is 6/1 that he makes the jump to Germany and inks a deal with Bayern Munich to finally signal the end of his tumultuous stay in Madrid.

The chances of him signing for as Liverpool are as good as they are him signing for any club in Major League Soccer, with a price of 7/1 being available, while it is 11/1 that Arsenal loosen the purse strings and bring another massive earner to the club in Bale – of course, a former star for fierce rivals Spurs.