The inside track on Gareth Bale’s transfer to Los Angeles FC
When Gareth Bale put an end to a transfer saga that had rumbled on for several weeks, choosing the MLS as his next destination, it sent shockwaves through football.
High-flying MLS club Los Angeles FC was ultimately the Welsh superstar’s number one choice after spending time mulling over the several offers that were on the table.
The story of how Bale swapped Madrid for the MLS includes details of how:
– Los Angeles FC received a text minutes after the final whistle of the Wales-Ukraine game which read ‘Can we talk about Gareth Bale?’
– There were four or five serious offers for the Welshman, from clubs including Cardiff City, DC United and LA.
– Discussions about a move to the Bluebirds progressed before Bale chose to personally convey his decision to move to the MLS to those at Cardiff.
– The pull of playing in Los Angeles was too much, with the Welshman intrigued by the opportunities that lay in the USA.
– Wales fans will be thrilled at the heightened prospect of Bale playing on at least until Euro 2024
Speaking to The Athletic, LAFC’s co-president John Thorrington, revealed how he had received a text from Bale’s agent minutes after the Wales- Ukraine game had ended, setting in motion a transfer that has captured the imagination Stateside
“Did I think, coming into the year, ‘let’s set aside money to sign Gareth Bale?’. No, that was not in my plans,” Thorrington. “But I did tell our ownership there will be these moments for opportunism and that we need to be in a position to strike.”
According to the sports website, Bale will be paid no more than $1.6125 million (£1.3 million) in a deal that also includes an 18-month option which if triggered next summer would see an increase in the player’s salary, making him a designated player.
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett revealed how they had “four or five serious offers” for him.
“It could have been more but we narrowed the field for him — he wasn’t going to Italy or Spain, for example,” Barnett said.
Cardiff City were certainly in the running – and out of respect to his hometown club Bale chose to inform the Bluebirds of his decision personally.
Ultimately however, the pull of playing regularly, gaining fitness ahead of the World Cup in a league that is on the up, for a club that is top of the table intrigued Bale, who was said to be excited about the opportunities to be experienced in a different country.
“I can’t offer Gareth European Champions League football, I can’t offer him the (Champions League) trophy he lifted for the fifth time, the economic package a Champions League club or Premier League club can offer him,” Thorrington said of how he sold the deal to Bale.
“What we can offer a player like him is a unique opportunity to come and do something different.
“Not just on the field — and that’s the focus — but also off the field, there is real momentum with where this league is going with the World Cup coming here (in 2026). He saw this opportunity to make a real difference.”
The move will certainly raise the profile and boost the viewing figures of the MLS globally.
“It’s exciting and I knew it would be big, but this is a different level,” said LAFC’s co-president.
“The soccer world is pretty quiet right now, and so it’s got every ounce of attention,” he added. “It’s been a whirlwind ever since the news came out.”
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