Wales fans celebrate World Cup qualification in Cardiff
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Chris Sutton has cast doubt on Wales star Gareth Bale returning to the Premier League this summer, claiming that he isn’t good enough to play at a top English club. Bale’s deflected free-kick was the difference in his country’s 1-0 win over Ukraine for a place at the World Cup as Bale will lead Wales at a World Cup finals for the first time in 64 years in Qatar.
There were claims that Bale may have retired if Wales did not reach the competition this winter, as his Real Madrid contract expires in the summer, but he will now look for another club ahead of next season to keep fit for his country.
There have been links to Premier League clubs but Sutton, speaking on BBC 5 Live’s 606 show, said: “Can he play at the top level in the Premier League? I am not so sure he can now.”
His hometown club Cardiff City have also been suggested as a landing spot for the Wales captain, having never played professional club football in Wales before, and Sutton called the idea “interesting”.
BBC Wales have reported that the Bluebirds’ chairman Mehmet Dalman has flown into the United Kingdom to lead negotiations, however Bale’s current Real Madrid wage of £600,000 per week is more than the entire Cardiff squad and the five-time Champions League winner may look to play his football in a less physical league to avoid injury before the World Cup in November.
Bale admitted prior to the victory over Ukraine that he has had “loads” of offers from clubs to play next season, and Wales manager Rob Page admitted that even he doesn’t know where his captain will play club football next season.
Page told Sky Sports News: “If I knew I would tell you. He has been [leading Wales] the last couple of years irrespective of what he has been doing at club level.
“He will just want to go somewhere where he is playing, enjoying his football and he knows that he has got one eye on the World Cup. It will all be a plan to lead us out there.”
Bale is reportedly prepared to take a significant pay cut this summer, which prompted the links to Cardiff as well as a return to Tottenham Hotspur. The 32-year-old broke through at Spurs, where he won the Premier League Player of the Season in 2013 and did return under Jose Mourinho on loan where he scored 11 goals in 20 league appearances. Antonio Conte’s side however have no plans to bring Bale back to the club for a third spell, having added Dejan Kulusevski and Ivan Perisic to their attacking options in the last two transfer windows.
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