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Manchester United: Why Gareth Bale is the perfect addition to Mourinho’s attack

Is Gareth Bale about to leave Real Madrid for Manchester United with Kylian Mbappé a target for the Galacticos?


Four years ago, Gareth Bale became the most expensive player in the world, moving to Real Madrid after taking the Premier League by storm for Tottenham Hotspur.

It was a special move for a special player.

Then, when Bale blew past Marc Bartra in the 2014 Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona, sprinting off the pitch and around the player in an unbelievable show of athleticism, before neatly slipping the ball through Pinto’s legs and into the back of the Barca net, the dream had really come true.

The Welshman has won three Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups, one La Liga title, a Cope Del Rey and a FIFA Club World Cup with Real Madrid in a period of European dominance from the Galacticos.

However, on a personal level, Bales has constantly experienced injury problems that have held him back from a consistent stint at his best.

Now, with Kylian Mbappé heavily linked with a move to the Bernabeu and Jose Mourinho stating his interest in the star, could Bale be on the move to Manchester United and how would this change the United line up?

Bale's European nights

Bale was born in Cardiff, but spent his youth career in the Southampton academy, where his road to becoming a global superstar began. His talent was clear for all to see from a young age, leading to his senior debut at for the Saints at just 16 years and 275 days old.

Bale's performances as a young star earned him a move to north London, joining Spurs for £7m in 2007. It was at Tottenham under manager Harry Redknapp where Bale became a world phenomenon.

He first burst onto the Champions League stage when he scored a second-half hat-trick against Inter Milan, then European champions, at the San Siro and then destroyed Maicon in the reverse leg at White Hart Lane in 2010. Only 21 at the time, Bale was too much to handle for the seasoned pro and Brazilian full-back Maicon.

Extreme highs and injury lows

Yet it was in the 2012/13 campaign where Bale really took off. The Welshman netted 21 goals and assisted four for Spurs in the league. His outstanding performances earned him the PFA Players' Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and the Football Writer's Association Player of the Year Award.

Then in 2013, the Welsh winger then made a huge £85.3m (€100m) move from Tottenham to Madrid, eclipsing the £80m paid for fellow Madridista Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bale's Madrid career has been filled with extreme highs, winning the Champions League on three occasions and also claiming the La Liga title, yet it has also been plagued with injuries

Many expected Bale to push on from his time at Spurs and even rival Ronaldo as Madrid's main man, but unfortunately for him, he hasn't been able to stay fit enough to reach this level, unlike Ronaldo who has consistently scored goals for his side.

At 28, he is in a crucial part of his career. He should be at his peak and dominating for Madrid, yet it seems his place in the team could be in doubt if Mbappé is brought in.

Onwards to Manchester?

This could mean a move to Manchester United, with Mourinho stating he will "fight with other coaches" to sign him if there is a possibility of the move.

Through pre-season, Mourinho has used both a two-man strike force in a 3-5-2 formation and a trio up top in a 4-3-3 line-up.

3-5-2

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If he opts for a two man attack then Bale would slot in perfectly just behind United's new summer signing Romelu Lukaku, creating an unbelievably powerful and technical pair.

This position, just behind the striker, rather than on the left, is said to be Bale's preferred position.

Especially playing with a strong target man in Lukaku, it allows Bale to roam and find space in the final third, running on to Lukaku's knockdowns and touches, almost as Ronaldo does with Karim Benzema at Madrid.

However, this would affect Henrikh Mkhitaryan who had been deployed as the supporting striker for Lukaku.

4-3-3

Therefore a three-man strike force could be the preferred option for the Portuguese manager if Bale is to join.

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With Lukaku leading the line, Bale on one flank and then either Mkhitaryan or Marcus Rashford on the other, United would have a front line mixed with strength, pace and bags of goals.

The move back to the Premier League could just be what Bale needs to re-spark his career into action, if Zinedine Zidane will let him leave the Spanish giants.

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Manchester United: Why Gareth Bale is the perfect addition to Mourinho’s attack

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