With his deal with Real Madrid expiring, Gareth Bale’s next destination is going to be Los Angeles with LAFC. Bale will sign a 12 month deal with Los Angeles FC that will run from this summer’s transfer window until next summer which will encompass half of the MLS season. A short term destination makes sense for Bale who is presumably looking to maintain fitness ahead of the November World Cup in Qatar. Cardiff City was another destination under consideration as well as Getafe which would have allowed the Welshman to stay in Madrid.
But LAFC appear to have won out, and continued their summer of courting global superstars adding Bale on a TAM deal. They’vefrom Juventus but what’s impressive is that neither has cost LAFC one of their designated player spots.
While Bale’s career has been in decline over the last several years as he’s lost some of his devastating pace and also being largely on the outside looking in at Real Madrid, you only need to look back to his return on loan to Tottenham last season to see that he can put the ball in the back of the net. In Bale’s second stint with Spurs he only logged 920 minutes across 20 Premier League appearances, but he scored 11 goals, assisting two more. Playing in a loaded MLS lineup it will be no surprise if he’s able to equal or surpass those numbers with LAFC while also looking to stay atop the Supporter’s Shield standings.
The first game that Bale would be eligible to feature in for Steve Cherundolo couldn’t come at a better time either as the transfer window opens on July 7. This sets Bale and Chiellini up to feature against the Los Angeles Galaxy in El Trafico on July 8th. One of the biggest rivalries in Major League Soccer featuring some of the biggest stars in the World.
What does this mean for Carlos Vela?
Vela’s contract has been the talk of the town as it expires this week. LAFC has been in negotiations to extend his deal but they’ve been stalled for weeks now. Should Vela walk, adding Bale feels like a bridge providing a replacement for their last star for the remainder of the season while allowing LAFC to focus on long term solutions in the winter. Vela has been magnificent for LAFC scoring 73 goals while assisting 33 more in only 116 games, but all good things must come to an end and LAFC is a team deep enough to cope with losing him. Five players on the team have been involved in four or more goals to begin the season and even with Vela being one of them, Bale could replace that production while Cristian Arango has room to improve after scoring 14 goals during the 2021 season.
If LAFC are able to come to an agreement to extend Vela, as some reports suggest will happen, their attack will be unmatched in the league but the salary cap will certainly be something to keep in mind.
Why MLS for Bale?
After winning everything that he can win, but struggling to get on the pitch for his club team in recent years, Bale’s next destination is one that provides a different kind of challenge, a place where he can have fun, rely on his talent to carry him and have a few golf courses around as well. It doesn’t get much better than Los Angeles there. Bale can compete for a trophy while being a star in one of the biggest cities in the world. With him being on a TAM deal, it’s not even like this is the usual cash grab while retiring to MLS because under league rules he can’t be making more than $1.6 million. TAM will be used to make LAFC roster compliant since Bale will be signed on a free transfer.
On the field, Bale will be able to play as much time at the nine as he does on the wing which will help as he has a similar floating role for Wales. The goal is keeping Bale fit for Wales’ first appearance at the World Cup since 1958 so it will be interesting to see if he features on turf fields, but overall things line up well.
World Cup ready
Speaking of the World Cup, with Wales and the United States being in the same group, Bale can get some scouting reports in on United States men’s national team players. Not only will he be playing with Kellyn Acosta but LAFC’s remaining schedule will see him face Walker Zimmerman, Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan, Jesus Ferriera, Paul Arriola and more members of the USMNT. Hopefully, Acosta will be able to get some intel of his own before the United States play Wales on November 21.