Real Madrid target Gareth Bale has given a clear hint that he sees his future in Spain. After a sensational season, the Tottenham attacker has been repeatedly linked with a move to the Bernabeu, with reports that Madrid could even be prepared to break the transfer record to secure his services. While Spurs have continued to insist that the Wales international will not be going anywhere this summer, Bale has revealed his desire to try his hand in Spain.
"I probably prefer Spanish football to the others," he said in an interview with Esquire. "It's very technical the way they play, they keep the ball well and whenever Spurs have played against Spanish teams in the past they've always made it difficult for us.
"So I'd say that Spanish football is probably the best I've seen,” he added. “Obviously, I'd like to try other leagues in the future. Every player would like to get as high as they can and try different things. It's something that the future holds and it's something that I'm very interested to try in the least."
Tottenham’s failure to qualify for the Champions League could be a determining factor in Bale’s decision and he also spoke of the competition’s allure. “The music is a massive thing,” he explained. “When we first got into the Champions League, it's one of the things that most of the lads were looking forward to, hearing it in the stadium. It's little things like that which make it special.”
Spanish sports daily Marca, though, believes that while Bale would be a fantasy signing, it is Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan that is their leading target. It has previously been claimed that Madrid have a first refusal on signing the midfielder next but summer, but, according to Marca, efforts are being made to bring a deal forward. The Germany international’s brother is said to have held talks in Madrid recently, with the Spanish champions hoping that Dortmund’s refusal to sell Robert Lewandowski could soften their stance on Gundogan.
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The pursuit of Gundogan comes as Madrid consider seeking a replacement for 31-year-old Xabi Alonso. In that context comes another report, also from Marca, of interest in Real Sociedad’s Asier Illarramendi. The 23-year-old impressed as part of the Spain side that won the recent European Under-21 Championship and it is there that he is said to have caught the eye of new Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti. Los Blancos hope to soon begin negotiations for the midfielder.
Some surprising speculation has also emerged concerning Madrid with TV show Punto Pelota reporting claims that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has informed Ancelotti, his former coach at Paris Saint-Germain, that he would welcome a move to the Bernabeu. The supremely gifted Swede is also believed to be willing to take a pay cut from his massive €14 million a year salary, while a fee of €20 million may be enough to secure the 31-year-old.
With Gonzalo Higuain set to depart, likely headed for Arsenal, securing a striker is certainly on the agenda at the Bernabeu. Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani have also been linked and they still look likelier signings than Ibrahimovic.