Football News

Chinese Super League club signs Gareth Bale alternative after ‘transfer U-turn’ from Real Madrid

By Ollie Thomas

Published: 14:33, 29 July 2019

Jiangsu Suning have ended their pursuit of Gareth Bale after completing the signing of Croatian forward Ivan Santini.

The Welshman looked set for a move to China this summer, but his proposed switch was blocked by Real Madrid just days before the Chinese transfer window slams shut.

Bale transfer saga: Five things to know…

  • Bale looked destined to leave Real this window, with the Chinese Super League his likely destination.
  • Earlier this month Zinedine Zidane confirmed Bale’s exit was imminent.
  • As such, the Wales international was supposedly in talks with Jiangsu Suning to secure a deal worth £1m a week.
  • However, talks broke down over the weekend, with Real not satisfied the financial return was beneficial enough.
  • Jiangsu Suning have now opted to sign Croatian forward Ivan Santini.

Bale’s relationship with current Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane has been less than cordial since the Frenchman’s reappointment in March, with the 47-year-old recently saying that he ‘hopes Bale leaves soon’, and followed up by suggesting the club were “working on his transfer to a new team”.

That provoked agitation from the Bale camp, with the Wales international’s representative, Jonathan Barnett, responding by calling the former Ballon d’Or winner a “disgrace”.

As such, Bale had been in discussions over a proposed move to the Chinese Super League, but Los Blancos have since scuppered that deal, and Jiangsu Suning have now moved briskly to sign a forward before the window closes on Wednesday.

Santini has been signed from Anderlecht which has quickly brought an end to this ongoing transfer saga, with the club having now filled their overseas player quota, leaving Bale in very uncertain territory ahead of 2019/20.

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China would have been “easy” for Bale

Speaking before Bale’s proposed move to Nanjing fell through, former Tottenham Hotspur teammate Mousa Dembele was backing an ‘easy ride’ for the forward in China.

Dembele left Spurs last season for Guangzhou R&F, where he has made 19 appearances so far, and the Belgian has been very positive about his experience in Asia. He told BBC Sport how his former colleague would have made a seamless transition to the league

He said: “Gareth will do very well here and it’s a league where he’ll fit in.

“He is an unbelievable player. In China, they want people who create something from nothing. If you’re a stable player who just passes sideways they don’t really make the difference because they can only have three [overseas] players on the pitch.

“Gareth can beat three players and shoot, so for him, it will be easy.”