Which club will Gareth Bale join this summer...Spurs, Rangers, Newcastle, Cardiff?

Gareth Bale blew the cobwebs off his injury-hit Real Madrid season to inspire Wales to a World Cup play-off win over Austria. Reminding everyone that he could be a great signing this summer.

Even at the ripe old age of 32, Gareth Bale is still a baller. To prove this the Welsh wonder netted a brace against Austria - a breathtaking free-kick in the 25th minute and another stunning finish after the break. Until that moment most people had probably forgotten that he was still playing for Real Madrid and was working his way up the PGA Tour rankings.

Bale has had another terrible injury ravaged season at Real Madrid. He's played just five games and scored one goal, a total of just 270 minutes on the pitch. An early season knee injury was followed by a calf problem, then Covid-19, then his back went. Typically the Spanish media has called him a "parasite", due to his apparent lack of effort when playing for the club. But for Wales he's a man reborn.

Bale's contract runs out in the summer and his recent performance for Wales will have definitely been a big jab in the ribs to the clubs who have been tracking him for the last few months. Planet Sport delves into the teams leading the race to lure him back to the UK.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs are still the red hot favourites to land Bale in the summer, because 'reportedly' it's already a done deal. Although we've heard that kind of claptrap before.

Bale spent six glittering years at White Hart Lane earlier in his career, the undoubted highlight being his astonishing hat-trick at Inter Milan in the Champions League. Upon returning from Madrid for last season's loan spell, he barely featured before Christmas, but found something like his old fluency and threat as the season neared its end.

Whether Antonio Conte wants the injury prone Welshman in his side is another question. Jose Mourinho wasn't the greatest fan, and Conte also gives off an aura of someone you don't want to muck about either.

Feels like this one could end in tears if it happens.

Newcastle United

As predictable as night following day, Newcastle are unsurprisingly being linked with a big name player looking for a final pay day.

There's no doubt Newcastle would treat Bale like a God, especially as their first foray into the transfer market with the Saudi money was rather pragmatic.

But fair play to Eddie Howe and his scouting team, the new transfers certainly worked and have helped pulled the club clear of relegation danger. But what the Geordies want now are big name players...one superstar at the very least.

A Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar or Mbappe is what they all crave, but they'll probably end up with someone just below that top echelon, and Gareth Bale fits that brief now.

However, we'd have to do a really in-depth review of local golf courses to see if they are enough to tempt him to the north-east. I hear Goswick Links in Berwick-upon-Tweed isn't bad, but it's a bit of a drive.

Rangers

Joint second favourites with Newcastle are Rangers, because Bale and Aaron Ramsey are friends...probably.

The Scottish giants are suckers for a big name player in their twilight years, but a Welsh international in their ranks isn't a well-trodden path.

The aforementioned Ramsey, Declan John and Andy Dibble are the only players that spring to mind, and digging them up hurt my brain.

Cardiff City

A return home would seem a fairy-tale ending to the career of one of Wales' greatest ever players - and Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan's reported net worth of $1.6billion could help make it happen.

In pure soccer terms, Cardiff offers Bale the opportunity to become a giant fish in a small pond with every match going through him, but one suspects that coming back to his home town is the factor which holds the greatest appeal.

A switch to the Welsh capital initially had bookmakers spooked last summer, but those odds drifted to 12/1 nine months later.

Plus the thought of a midweek trip to Hull in mid-winter to slug out a lifeless 0-0 probably doesn't hold much appeal to a multi-millionaire.

Becoming a golf professional

This rumour won't go away. If the infamous Welsh flag is to be believed, golf comes second in Bale's list of priorities, after playing soccer for his country.

It's well known that Bale spends much time on the golf course during his long injury lay-offs and the periods when he's been frozen out the Real Madrid first team.

Bale has even had golf holes, such as the infamous 17th at Sawgrass, recreated in his back garden.

Is Bale good enough to focus his attentions on turning pro?

Bale's handicap is reported to be three or four so he's yet to achieve scratch status.

However, that might come without the distraction of having to play soccer.

Does the prospect of playing at The Belfry, Royal Troon or St Andrews every weekend hold more appeal than Spurs, Rangers or...er Newcastle?

We'll soon find out.

Read more: Phil Neville adds his name to this list of worst English managers abroad

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