Gareth Bale’s proposed move to China is off with Real Madrid cancelling his switch to the Far East.
The forward seemed to be on his way to Chinese Super League side to Jiangsu Suning before the decision by the Spanish giants on Sunday afternoon.
His representatives had been in Nanjing overnight trying to pull the deal together and negotiate a £1million-a-week contract.
Real manager Zinedine Zidane had placed his own club in a difficult negotiating position by publicly making it clear Bale has no future under him at the Bernabeu.
There had even been suggestions that Real would have to take an £86m loss on Bale to push through his transfer.
Zidane’s declaration meant Bale’s Chinese suitors unwilling to pay a transfer fee on top of world-record wages for the Welshman.
However, some Madrid insiders have always been reluctant to let Bale leave on a free given that Zidane would want to use the savings in wages to launch a £150million bid for Paul Pogba from Manchester United – having already paid seven figures for Eden Hazard.
They also lost another Marco Asensio to long-term injury last week. And Real struggled when they lost 7-3 against Atletico Madrid on Friday night, looking completely toothless in attack until he came on in the 62nd minute.
Their president Florentino Perez was left wondering if practically gifting Bale to the Chinese was the correct thing to do in the circumstances.
With only Chinese sides keen on Bale, it seems likely that he will now stay put at the Santiago Bernabeu. But the decision could also revive interest from Manchester United and Tottenham if Real decide against retaining him.
Bale moved from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013 in a then world-record €100 million deal and has helped the club win the Champions League four times during his spell at the Bernabeu.
The 30-year-old scored twice in the 2018 final against Liverpool, his first arriving from a spectacular overhead kick just minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Bale has also appeared twice as a substitute in pre-season, scoring in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal – but seeing his spot-kick saved in a penalty shoot-out – and playing 30 minutes in the 7-3 defeat to Atletico Madrid.
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett had labelled Zidane a ‘disgrace’ over the handling of his client and maintains any transfer will be done in the best interests of the Welshman.
‘There will be no makeshift deals to get him out of the club. Gareth is one of the best players on the planet. I can guarantee you he will not be going on loan to any club,’ Barnett told Sky Sports News on Tuesday.
‘Gareth is a Real Madrid player and for now he is staying as a Real Madrid player. If something comes along that suits us, then things could change and he could be gone in a day or a week, or he could still be a Real player in three years when his contract ends.’