Manchester United favourites to sign Gareth Bale this summer

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It's no secret that Gareth Bale has found it increasingly difficult to silence his detractors during his second season at Real Madrid with a string of below-par performances prompting the heavy criticism of Blancos fans and the Spanish press. 

So, it's no wonder that the Welshman's future at the Bernabeu has appeared increasingly uncertain in recent times despite the backing of Real president Florentino Perez and manager Carlo Ancelotti.

On the back of another disappointing display in El Clasico on Sunday, embodied by a controversially disallowed goal, Ladbrokes have pitted Manchester Untied as firm favourites to land the £86 million man in the summer transfer market. 

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The boos and jeers from the Bernabeu crowd have become a worryingly common occurrence for Bale.

Unfortunately for him, his poor display against Barcelona on Sunday, exemplified by the fact that his 40 touches and 28 passes (just 57 percent of which found their target) were fewer than any other outfield player who started the match.

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In a press release to GiveMeSport, Jack Beresford of Ladbrokes said: "Despite scoring the winner for Real in last season’s Champions League final, Bale continues to be the target of abuse and the odds suggest he'll have soon had enough". 

According to the betting firm, the Welshman is strongly tipped (3/1) to make a return to the Barclays Premier League this summer.

However, although Manchester United are firm favourites to splash the cash on the talented winger, Premier League giants Chelsea are also said to be in the running for his signature. 

Manchester United favourites 

It's no secret that Manchester United have long admired the Welshman (they offered close to 120 million euros for Bale in 2013) and with Angel di Maria struggling to break into the first-team and live up to his £59.7 million price tag, the Red Devils are 7/4 favourites to sign the coveted 25-year-old winger.

Indeed, the Manchester Untied board have made it very clear that they are more than willing to financially support manager Louis van Gaal in the next transfer window with the club aiming to regain their status as a Premier League heavy-weight. 

However, it remains to be seen whether, with Paul Pogba their number one transfer target and a new central defender urgently required, the club will be prepared to pay the minimum price demanded by Real Madrid for Bale which is set to be around the £70 million mark. 

Chelsea also in contention 

However, the Red Devils are not the only English club reportedly interested in landing the Welshman this summer with Chelsea also in contention at 6/1 odds.

However, this remains highly unlikely given the intense London rivalry between Chelsea and Bale's former club Tottenham.

In addition, with the Blues reportedly interested in Shakhtar Donetsk's Douglas Costa and having signed Juan Cuadrado in the January transfer window, it would be foolish to splash £70 million on the Welshman when they have plenty of options on the wings. 

A move to PSG? 

The French outfit are no strangers to spending astronomical amounts of money on world-class players, as they have proven with the multi-million euro acquisition of stars such as Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and more recently, David Luiz.

However, it would make no or little sense for the Welshman to ply his trade in the French league when he has grown accustomed to playing in two of the world's most competitive leagues.

Granted, should he sign for PSG, he would be playing alongside the likes of Edinson Cavani, Marco Verratti and Thiago Silva, albeit in a league which is a serious downgrade on the Premier League and La Liga.

Therefore, should the Welshman seek new pastures come the summer transfer window, a move back to the Premier League looks the most realistic possibility.

Other potential destinations

After they sold their star player to Real Madrid for the lucrative sum of £86 million two seasons ago, it is astonishing that Ladbrokes would pit Bale's former club Spurs as 16/1 favourites to re-sign their former player.

Yes, they have certainly missed his on-field exploits but the wound seems to have healed recently, particularly with the impressive form of new White Hart Lane darling Harry Kane.

It is therefore highly improbable that Tottenham would fork out £70 million for a player they parted ways with two seasons ago, particularly given their relatively restricted financial power in transfer windows and their prioritising of defensive recruitments come the summer transfer window. 

Given Raheem Sterling's stalling over a new contract at Liverpool and amid interest from Manchester City, it shouldn't surprise many to see that the Reds are 20/1 favourites to land the Real Madrid player.

Although Bale would certainly be a quality addition to the squad, the Merseyside outfit would perhaps be unwilling to spend the majority of their summer transfer budget on one player. Therefore, a potential swoop for Arsenal's out-of-favour winger Theo Walcott appears to be, for now, the more realistic outcome. 

Still in the Barclays Premier League, Tottenham's bitter North London rivals Arsenal are a very modest fifth in the race to land the Welshman at 33/1 odds.

Fair to say that this would be the last place Bale would be willing to move to, given the intense rivals between former club Tottenham and the Gunners.

In addition, similarly to Chelsea, Arsenal appear to have a wealth of options on the wings and in attack and Wenger would be reluctant to break his transfer record to land the Welshman this summer.

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