One player who has been now linked with a chance to stand out in Steven Gerrard’s team next season is Gareth Bale, with the club reportedly monitoring the former Real Madrid star’s situation as he becomes a free agent after completing a nine-year stint in the Spanish capital.
The Welshman has won five Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles and three UEFA Super Cups during his time with Los Blancos, but with his contract expiring, he will now look for a move to continue playing elsewhere.
Bale has scored 106 goals and contributed 67 assists in 258 appearances with the Champions League holders, equating to a goal contribution every 105 minutes, but in more recent years he has been getting less and less game-time.
In the 2021/22 season, the 32-year-old made just seven appearances in all competitions, with one goal and no assists, but he was still picking up a whopping £528k-per-week despite his lack of input in Real Madrid’s successes.
Villa’s interest in the Welshman is a concern, as they should be building for the future of their forward line instead of finding a stop-gap for a short-term solution which could ultimately cost them millions in wages with little return on investment.
Not only are his wage demands concerning, his availability and fitness should also be a cause for trepidation, with the 32-year-old sustaining eight injuries last season alone with Real Madrid, all while being dubbed a “controversial” figure.
Should Aston Villa sign Gareth Bale?
Bale did make a return to the Premier League at Tottenham Hotspur on a season-long loan in 2020/21, again finding it difficult to stay fit as he sustained three injuries, missing 31 days and eight matches and making just 20 league appearances in total.
Villa could easily repeat the nightmare which unfolded with the signing of Ross McCormack, whose wages shot up to £70k-per-week when they were promoted to the Premier League in 2019 despite not playing a league match for the club in two years prior to their promotion. They could be on a similarly wasteful path by offering Bale a high salary.
Ultimately, Gerrard and Johan Lange should carefully assess whether the winning mentality of Bale, as evidenced be his aforementioned trophy haul, is worth the large salary and almost inevitable fitness issues which could see him sidelined frequently. It is definitely a huge risk for Villa.