Three Premier League clubs will offer Gareth Bale an even better next home than Cardiff next season, according to Stan Collymore.
The former Liverpool, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and England star reckons a shock move to Manchester City would make sense for both parties on a short-term contract and that Pep Guardiola might just fancy Bale’s quality in his side.
But the Mirror Sport columnist is adamant a move to Brighton or Brentford would be an even better fit for the 32-year-old, who is on the lookout for a new club this summer when his deal expires with Real Madrid in a few weeks.
Five-time Champions League winner Bale scored the goal that took Wales to their first World Cup finals since 1958. And, as a result, he has postponed any thought of retirement to lead Rob Page’s squad in Qatar. Collymore said: “If Bale is thinking of Cardiff then why not think about Brighton or Brentford? They could match whatever he could get financially.
“Look, Manchester City and Pep Guardiola may well turn round and say, ‘On a free, why not? Let’s take him on a short contract, similar to what we did with Frank Lampard, because he’d play a few games and we’d sell a boatload of shirts’. But what he’d give to Thomas Frank and Brentford, and to Graham Potter and Brighton, the supporters of both clubs, some of the younger players to see how he trains and conducts himself…
“He went to Spurs on loan from Real and he wasn’t the Big Man, it didn’t happen for him there on his return. But he could go to Brighton or Brentford and he’d be great for a club like that. You know he’ll concentrate on football for a defined period of time leading up to the World Cup, so there aren’t going to be the kind of injuries he had at Spurs because he’ll want to play in Qatar. You only have to listen to the way Frank talks about Christian Eriksen and what he has brought to the club.
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“When you’re a Brighton or Brentford, you rarely get the chance to sign a Grade A, marquee player, yet the incredible situation with Eriksen opened the door for Brentford and Frank, and he has paid them back in spades. Brighton and Brentford are progressive clubs, and if they got him in the zone, which he will be, then what a cracking story that would be for either club in the Premier League. Both Frank and Potter could learn a few things from Bale, and vice-versa. And with Qatar just around the corner, they know they will get a fully fit and focused player who’ll be on the golf course far less than normal in the months to come.”
Wales’s qualification for the World Cup finals ended a 64-year wait. Collymore added: “In Wales, where rugby is hanging on as the national sport, this is going to be a massive shot in the arm for football. There will be kids watching the World Cup for the first time and when you do that you’re in the game hook, line and sinker because there’s nothing like watching the yellow shirts of Brazil, the efficiency of Germany, the all-orange of Holland for the first time.
“Young Welsh kids will be injected with the football bug and I’m thrilled that so many will pick up a football rather than a rugby ball now, which will mean Wales produce more players who can hopefully keep getting them qualified.”