Barcelona & Man Utd striker search, Gareth Bale latest: Your questions answered by BBC Sport’s Guillem Balague

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January 31, 2020
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    Gareth Bale heads the ball

    Gareth Bale wants to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season

    On La Liga clubs

    Steve: What is the real situation with Gareth Bale?

    Gareth has been injured. But I feel he will be strong and ready for the last months of the season. He decided he wanted to leave at the end of this season.

    No offer has arrived at the moment. So it is even possible he would stay, which in the eyes of the club is not ideal.

    Leo: How is Luka Jovic doing at Real Madrid? And is there any chance of him coming to Manchester United or another Premier League club?

    He is doing very poorly. In the cup he touched the ball 14 times, less than the goalkeeper.

    Before the season had started Real Madrid even considered sending him out on loan! And he had just arrived.

    He doesn’t know what his role is and is not given time either.

    Loui: Do you believe Real Madrid’s young guns of Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Reinier and even Federico Valverde will ever live up to the true Galacticos status?

    That was a different era. Galacticos were mature men and players that had won a lot.

    Now, as Real can’t compete with the likes of Manchester City and Paris St-Germain, they have to cross their fingers and hope that at least one of these talented players becomes the new Neymar.

    James Turner: Do you think it was the right decision for Barcelona to sack Ernesto Valverde? Considering what’s happened since and was fan pressure the main reason?

    He had to go. When the president came to him and asked him if he was strong enough to continue, even Valverde said, let’s sort this out for good.

    The club had put him in an impossible situation. They undermined him.

    Charlie Leatham: If Edinson Cavani ends up at Atletico Madrid, what happens to Thomas Lemar? High end Spanish newspapers and TV stations reported he was close to Arsenal?

    Lemar doesn’t need to go for financial reasons but Atletico would be happy to sell him for a big figure. No big offer has arrived.

    Cavani looks difficult right now, as PSG are not even answering Atletico’s proposals. It might be a strategy to get more money but Atletico are pessimistic.

    Will Hazelwood: What is the likelihood of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing for Barcelona in this window?

    None. There were a couple of calls, he knows of certain interest. No offer was ever given to either him or Arsenal.

    Chris Turney: Who is the next wonderkid we haven’t heard about as yet??

    You have heard about them all. Nobody will get to the level of Kylian Mbappe in the next decade. I really like Pedri (at Las Palmas now, bought by Barcelona).

    Declan: Who are the current hot prospects in La Liga at the moment?

    Fer Nino (Villarreal) has started spectacularly in his games with the first team. A goal on his debut, a goal in the cup. There are plenty more: Ferran Torres (Valencia), Takefusa Kubo (Mallorca, on loan from Real Madrid), Ander Barrenetxea (Real Sociedad), Pau Torres (Villarreal).

    On Premier League clubs

    Ben Marchbanks: Was there any doubt at one stage Manchester United wouldn’t get the Bruno Fernandes deal over the line despite Barcelona’s late bid?

    Manchester United had to up the offer. So don’t take my word for it, but it does tell you how strongly Barcelona came for him. Yes, there were doubts.

    Andy Hughes/Omar Otiefa/Alan Darma Saputra (and many others): Any chance of Manchester United getting a striker in before the deadline? What do you think are the chances and who will they be looking at?

    The problem with getting a striker is that it is not cheap to do so. So if it has not happened now, it will be difficult to convince someone.

    Look at the list of strikers linked (wrongly) to Barcelona but that it gives you an idea of who could be available of the right money or the quality of player a team like United needs: Timo Werner, Edinson Cavani, Cristhian Stuani, Victor Osimhen, Olivier Giroud, Dusan Tadic, Fernando Llorente, Wissam Ben Yedder.

    Stephen Bird/Alex: How good is Sander Berge and how will he fit in at Sheffield United?

    I really like him. What a great signing. Personality in abundance, clever in the way he reads the game. Quick in his decision making. He has got the whole of the pitch in his head.

    He will become one of the top midfielders in the Premier League (not my words but of two top scouts that have followed his career).

    Matthew Donnell/Sean/Oli Mann: What’s your expert opinion on Wolves’ recent signing Daniel Podence? Will he improve Wolves? Can they get a top four spot next season?

    Wolves are making a lot of steps in the right direction. Consistent signings, the foundations are strong and getting stronger, respect of roles, coaches adding layers to the teams.

    Podence is another step in the right direction. He is a winger who can play in both sides, or as number 10. He is direct, skillful, and has a strong personality.

    He is a Wolves player – I think you can call certain players that, which means the club now has an identifiable personality.

    J Roth: How do you rate Mikel Arteta’s start to his managerial career and his first signing Pablo Mari?

    I admire Mikel. I knew he was ready to take on the job.

    Pablo has had an excellent time at Flamengo and his ability to defend and see a pass will make him very important, plus his exploits abroad confirmed the impression Manchester City had of a guy with a strong will and intelligence.

    Raqib Hussain: What is the view from Europe on how Liverpool are doing this season?

    We are all in awe. Amazing. Extraordinary. Incredible. And add as many adjectives as you want.

    They are everyone’s favourite to win the Champions League again.


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    January 31, 2020
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