Gareth Bale’s agent insists that the Real Madrid forward was “nowhere near” being sold to Manchester United over the summer, despite a number of reports linking the Welshman to the Old Trafford club.
From the Soccerex Global Convention 2015 in Manchester.
It was an odd summer at Manchester United. The Red Devils conducted swift business on a number of deals during the transfer window. Louis Van Gaal brought in the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlein and Memphis Depay to bolster the squad in preparation for the upcoming season and the return of UEFA Champions League football.
However, as the summer wore on, momentum in the transfer market appeared to have been lost. Supporter frustration grew amid rumours of the club attempting to broker deals with some of football’s biggest superstars – would Neymar really be swapping Camp Nou for Old Trafford? Of course not – but transfer speculation still sells newspapers.
One rumour which reared its head a number of times during the transfer window was that of United trying to bring Gareth Bale back to the Premier League.
Jonathan Barnett, founder of the Stellar Group who represent Gareth Bale, was in Manchester this week speaking to delegates at the Soccerex Global Convention. He was a member of a panel of football agents discussing the role of the “super-agent” in the modern game – particularly in the light of FIFA’s new regulations for working with “intermediaries”.
Barnett was keen to dismiss the view that football agents are only busy within the transfer window by highlighting the important job that he, and other player representatives, do to look after their clients 365 days a year. Alongside some forthright views on the new FIFA regulations, he also bemoaned the lack of freedom that the transfer window creates and the bad light in which agents are portrayed because of the current system.
Earlier in the week, transfer expert Esteve Calzada of PrimeTime Sport took to the same stage to comment on the growing acceptance among the largest clubs in the world that they must do business with each other to help fund further transfers. In short, we should expect many more high-profile transfers between elite clubs in the coming years.
Despite such predictions, Barnett poured scorn on the idea of his own client making the move back to England.
He told the packed audience that Bale was “nowhere near leaving…that was all stupid paper talk.”
“He is very happy in Madrid and hopefully he will stay there for the rest of his career.”
That puts the rumour to bed, then. At least until next summer.