Could Premier League Giants Get £86 Million Gareth Bale for Free?

Diego Maradona says he has a solution to Real Madrid's scarcity of goals this season—sign France teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe from Paris St Germain and give Gareth Bale away for free.

Real's £86 million record signing of Bale has endured another nightmare season with injuries, but he fired the European champions into the Club World Cup final on Wednesday (December 13) by striking the winner in a nervy 2-1 win over Abu Dhabi side Al Jazira.

Real will face Gremio in Sunday's decider to add some more silverware to manager Zinedine Zidane's trophy cabinet.

Their domestic form, however, has been poor and they find themselves eight points behind Barcelona in the Liga standings.

Yet Argentina's former World Cup winning captain said things might have been different had president Florentino Perez heeded his advice.

"I told Florentino to sign Mbappe but he told me had Cristiano Ronaldo," Maradona said in an interview with AS.

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale at Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain, November 28. Real Madrid should sell Bale to make room for Kylian Mbappe, according to Diego Maradona. Denis Doyle/Getty

Asked where signing Mbappe would leave Bale, Maradona said: "They should sell Bale, they should give him away. I expect Florentino wouldn't, but maybe he can do a deal, and let Bale go to AC Milan or Inter [Milan].

"They have to sign Mbappe, for me he's the next big thing, he could overtake many players."

So with Maradona envisaging Mbappe going through the Bernabeu entrance and Bale heading out, where could the Welshman end up playing?

Manchester United would likely be the frontrunner. United and manager Jose Mourinho are desperate to catch up with Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, who lead the Premier League by 11 points.

United is also the club with the spending power to bring Bale back to the Premier League, should Perez ignore Maradona's advice of "giving him away." The prospect of selling Bale is one Real is said to have considered earlier this season, but the club is believed to have rejected interest from Manchester United in the summer.

The only other club in the Premier League likely to part with the kind of money Real would want is Chelsea. Roman Abramovich has bankrolled the West London club to four Premier League titles since he bought it in 2003.

In the summer, Chelsea broke its club transfer record in a deal with Real Madrid. They paid a fee of around £70 million for Spanish striker Alvaro Morata who has eased into life in the Premier League. Morata has scored nine goals in 15 appearances in the league, helping Chelsea to third in the table.

Manager Antonio Conte is keen for the board at Stamford Bridge to boost his squad further but the addition of Bale would likely surpass the fee paid for Morata.