Wales manager Chris Coleman has told Sky Sports that he thinks the Premier League may be a little too gruelling for Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale right now.
Bale, 28, shot to stardom with Tottenham Hotspur, as 49 goals in his final three seasons for the club saw him earn a 2013 world-record move to Real Madrid.
The Welsh international has mostly been a success for Real, especially in his first three seasons with the club, in which he scored 58 times – but the last 12 months have been difficult for Bale.
With just seven league goals last season, Bale struggled with injuries, and the same can be said of this season, having made just six starts in all competitions this season.
Another injury – this time a thigh injury – is set to rule Bale out again, potentially until the end of 2017, and reports now suggest that Real may choose to cash in on the wide man if possible.
The Mirror claim that Chelsea, Manchester United and even former club Tottenham are interested in signing Bale, though the £85million asking price may be something of a concern.
Now, Wales boss Chris Coleman has told Sky Sports that he just wants Bale to be happy, but pointed out that the Premier League is much tougher physically than La Liga, suggesting that Bale's injury woes may get even worse.
“I'd like to see Gareth wherever he's going to be happy,” said Coleman. “If I'm going to be the Welsh manager for two more years, or four more years, I'd like to see him stay at Real Madrid. Okay, he's picked up a lot of injuries but generally the Premier League is much tougher than La Liga in terms of the physicality. It's very tough the Premier League.”
“When he's happy he plays good football. When he comes to us and he's happy and we see an amazing player. If he's happy in Madrid fine. If not he should go and play somewhere where he is happy,” he added.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is unlikely to sanction an £85million splurge on a player with such well-documented injury problems, and the dreams of a Spurs return may have to take a back seat for now – and Coleman's advice appears to be to stay with Real for now.