Ian Hart: The obscene numbers behind Gareth Bale's proposed move to the Chinese Super League

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale

Obscene...That is the only word to describe Gareth Bale’s proposed move from Real Madrid to the Chinese Super League for a reported £1million a week wages.

Just wild paper talk on a slow news day in sunny Spain or have the lunatics finally taken over the asylum?

I’ve no doubt that Bale, whilst pursuing his footballing career, has also to provide lifelong security for his young family but this goes far beyond that.

First and foremost, where does this money come from?

Pardon my ignorance but I thought China was still classed as a communist state?

Where all men are equal, but clearly some are more equal than others.

To then have Chinese businessmen pay out this kind of money for one worker in a leisure pursuit is more out of the textbook of Groucho Marx rather than Karl.

For the good of the beautiful game, it has to be ‘pie in the sky’ - a story cooked up by the Real Madrid PR spin doctors or Bale’s representatives.

Personally, regardless of what Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane thinks, Bale is still one of the top players on the planet and I’d like to see him back in the Premier League.

Even if it’s a loan deal and obviously not £52 million a year, the top clubs in this country must look at him as adding to their existing squads.

But ultimately returning to the word at the top of the column, all the time we’ve got food banks in this country, a number of children living in poverty, an NHS bursting at the seams, knife crime at epidemic levels, is it morally wrong for a British sportsman to be paid £1million a week a to play football?

You don’t need two goes at the answer...

First statement of intent from incoming Albion boss Graham Potter?

The season-long loan transfer of Anthony Knockheart to Championship side Fulham blindsided a lot of Albion fans, but is it a calculated move by Potter?

There’s no doubting the Frenchman’s ability at this level - he’s never going to be a top six player - but on form he doesn’t look out of place in the Premier League.

It’s his temperament that has come into question and even if he wasn’t Albion boss back then, did Knockheart’s straight red card at home to Bournemouth for that X certificate challenge tell Potter everything he needed to know about one of his new squad members?

Part of me is sorry to see the player go, but the aforementioned Bournemouth red card and the dismissal at Everton the season before, live long in the memory.

Both times the dismissals, thankfully, didn’t have far reaching consequences, but could it be third time unlucky in the forthcoming season?

His acolytes have cited his winning goal at Crystal Palace last season as a testament to his legend status, but games last 90 minutes and there was a strong case that he shouldn’t have even been on the pitch to score at that time, as a result of another dodgy challenge in the opening minute.

Both managers and players come and go it’s part and parcel of football, history will look back on Knockheart’s time at the Albion with a fair bit of affection, but clearly it is always a two-sided coin.

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