Gareth Bale will be forced to play on the wing again at Madrid

The Tottenham man is on the verge of signing for the Spanish capital-city giants, but looks likely to play wide rather than in a central role.

It is widely understood that Gareth Bale will complete a world-record transfer to Real Madrid in the next 48 hours and end a summer-long transfer saga.

The Wales international has shown his considerable ability over the last couple of seasons at Spurs and has the potential to be a real star for the Santiago Bernabeu for years to come.

However, Bale has become accustomed to being the main man at White Hart Lane but will be afforded no such luxury in Spain. With the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil and Karim Benzema his new attacking team-mates, the world record transfer fee holder will need to work hard to adapt to a star-studded forward line.

Madrid play a 4-2-3-1 formation not dissimilar to what Bale has become accustomed to at Tottenham, but the new man’s role in this system will be different to what it was in north London.

Initially Bale was deployed as a devastating left winger, but over the course of last term Andre Villas-Boas used the attacker centrally as the middle player in the 3. This allowed him a licence to go wherever he liked on the pitch and also saw the number of goals that he scored increase due to his added prominence in Spurs’ play.

At Madrid however there are two players that are more likely to play in that second striker role than he is. Ronaldo is usually deployed there, and will either continue or be pushed forward to be the team’s sole striker. Mesut Ozil’s ingenuity and creativity is another option for Carlo Ancelotti in this position, as the Germany international will need to be included more often than not.

There have been rumours that Ozil could well be subject to a transfer, but this is highly unlikely.

So, the probable Madrid set-up will see Di Maria on the right flank, Bale on the left, with Ozil, Ronaldo and Benzema fighting it out for the two central positions.

Although Bale first made his mark as a winger at Tottenham, he has been more devastating of late when playing in a central role. Moving back out to a wing position could well inhibit his space and ability to have an influence on proceedings.

Regardless of what position he plays, the expectancy on Bale to deliver instantly will be huge from the Madrid fans. The Santiago Bernabeu faithful have become accustomed to watching some of the best players on the planet dazzle them and win matches for the team – Bale now fits into that category and will be expected to replicate the extraordinary achievements he showcased at Tottenham on the biggest stage.

image: © Jan S0L0

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