Gareth Bale signs with LAFC: the former Real Madrid attacker on his way to MLS

With his contract with Real Madrid set to expire, Gareth Bale’s next destination will 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 and will span half of the MLS season. A short-term goal makes sense for Bale, who is believed to be looking to keep fit ahead of November’s World Cup in Qatar. Cardiff City was another destination under consideration, as well as Getafe, which would have allowed the Welshman to remain in Madrid.

But LAFC appears to have won and continued their summer of wooing global superstars by adding Bale to a TAM deal. They have also added Georgio Chiellini from Juventus, but what is impressive is that neither has cost LAFC one of their designated player spots.

While Bale’s career has been in decline in recent years as he’s lost some of his devastating pace and is also largely sidelined at Real Madrid, you only have to look back at his return on loan to Tottenham last season to see that he can place the ball in the back of the net. In Bale’s second stint at Spurs, he managed just 920 minutes in 20 Premier League games but scored 11 goals and provided two more assists. Playing in a loaded MLS lineup, it will come as no surprise when he is able to match or exceed those numbers with LAFC while also attempting to stay at the top of Supporter’s Shield standings.

The first game Bale could take part in for Steve Cherundolo couldn’t come at a better time either, with the transfer window opening on July 7. With that, Bale and Chiellini will face the Los Angeles Galaxy in El Trafico on July 8. One of the biggest rivalries in Major League Soccer with 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 contract but they have stalled for weeks. Should Vela leave, the addition of Bale feels like a bridge, providing a replacement for their last star for the remainder of the season and allowing LAFC to focus on long-term solutions during the winter. Vela has been great for LAFC, who have scored 73 goals and assisted 33 more in just 116 games, but all good things must end and LAFC are a team strong enough to come to terms with defeat. Five players in the team were involved in four or more goals earlier in the season and even if Vela is one of them, Bale could replace that production while Cristian Arango has room for improvement after 14 goals in the 2021 season.

If LAFC can reach an agreement to extend Vela, as some reports suggest, will happenher attack will be unmatched in the league, but the salary cap will certainly be something to keep an eye on.

Why MLS for Bale?

After winning everything he can win but struggling to get onto the pitch for his club team in recent years, Bale’s next destination is one that offers a different kind of challenge, a place to have fun and rely on his talent and also have a couple of golf courses nearby. It doesn’t get much better there than in Los Angeles. Bale can be fighting for a trophy while still being a star in one of the greatest cities in the world. Since he’s on a TAM deal, it’s not even like that’s the usual cash heist when he retires to MLS because he can’t make more than $1.6 million under league rules. TAM will be used to make LAFC roster compliant as Bale is signed on a free transfer.

On the field, Bale can play just as much time on the nine as he does on the wing, which will help as he plays a similarly floating role for Wales. The aim is to keep Bale fit for Wales’ first appearance at the World Cup since 1958 so it will be interesting to see if he plays on grass pitches but overall things are going well.

WM ready

Speaking of the World Cup, since Wales and the United States are in the same group, Bale can get some scouting reports on US national team players. Not only will he play with Kellyn Acosta, but in the remainder of LAFC’s schedule, he will play against Walker Zimmerman, Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan, Jesus Ferriera, Paul Arriola and other members of the USMNT. Hopefully, Acosta will be able to get their own information before the United States play Wales on November 21.

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