The transfer window, the time of year that any reporting rules go out the window and your favourite club is linked with every single player on the planet, only to reach deadline day with a couple of loan deals and no ‘superstar deal’ that you had been told of hours before.
Yes, it can prove to be a slog during the summer months – and again in January – but a strange thing happened this week, especially if you’re a supporter of Manchester United.
The club’s official TV channel MUFC broadcasted a programme featuring the Sunday Express’ John Richardson and the Telegraph’s Mark Ogden to coincide with the Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Juventus.
Real Madrid 1 Juventus 1 player ratings
Real Madrid 1 Juventus 1 player ratings
1/22 REAL MADRID: Casillas 7
The Spaniard was excellent when called upon tonight and showed his experience to keep the back four composed as Juventus pressed for an away goal. Couldn’t do anything about the goal.
2/22 Carvajal 7
Carvajal was steady tonight and looked to get forward whenever he could to help the attacking cause. Provided great deliveries from wide positions.
3/22 Varane 7
The young centre back improved hugely from his dismal display in the first leg. He didn’t give Morata a moment’s peace and showed his potential on the big stage.
4/22 Ramos 7
Looked more comfortable in his familiar centre back position and held his own well against the in-form Tevez. Showed his importance at the heart of Madrid’s defence.
5/22 Marcelo 7
After a night to forget in Turin, Marcel was back to his best at the Bernebeu. Defensively sound but gave great support to Ronaldo on the left flank.
6/22 Isco 7
The young Spaniard showed his class tonight, pressing high on the Juventus midfield and finding space in front of the back four on a regular basis.
7/22 Kroos 7
As always, Kroos was assured on the ball and looked to get things going from deep. Finally filled the void left by Luka Modric in the midfield.
8/22 James 7
He may have gone down easily for the penalty but the Colombian was a nuisance in his favoured central midfield role. Found the gaps constantly.
9/22 Bale 6
Although he wasn’t at his majestic best, Bale showed some improvement on his first leg performance. Still seemed quiet and low on confidence though.
10/22 Benzema 7
Benzema showed Madrid what they were missing in the first leg; a focal point. Stretched the Juventus back four and linked up well with the midfield.
11/22 Ronaldo 7
Constantly tried to get Madrid going even if it didn’t come to fruition. Scored the first goal and but cut an incredibly frustrated figure in the second half.
12/22 JUVENTUS: Buffon 7
The Italian veteran had another vintage display tonight. Pulled off countless world class saves to keep Juventus in the tie.
13/22 Lichsteiner 7
The full back struggled to deal with Ronaldo defensively but showed his attacking prowess with some mazy runs down the flank.
14/22 Bonucci 6
Didn’t make a single tackle in the first half and it showed. The experienced defender was overrun in the second leg and should’ve been punished more often.
15/22 Chiellini 6
Ridiculous challenge on Rodriguez for the penalty but recovered well in the second half to give his side some sort of control.
16/22 Evra 6
Showed that he can still play at this level marking Bale out of the game for much of the second leg. Looks to be a key figure in the Juventus squad.
17/22 Marchisio 7
His industrious work ethic and perfectly timed runs from midfield made him a nuisance for the Madrid defence. Should’ve had a brace to himself.
18/22 Pirlo 6
Wasn’t at his best tonight but gave Juventus what they needed when holding onto their lead; composure in possession. Made up for his lack of legs with his positional intelligence.
19/22 Pogba 7
The Frenchman held his own at the Bernebeu and showed the world what he’s all about. Did his bit for his team’s defensive effort but didn’t show as much creative prowess as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from him.
20/22 Vidal 7
Worked tirelessly in a trademark performance for the Chilean. Kept the ball well when others around him were feeling the pressure.
21/22 Tevez 8
The diminutive forward continues to take his game to another level. Led most of Juventus’s counter attacks even if he was more of a provider than a direct goal threat.
22/22 Morata 8
The ex-Madrid man played his part in both legs and tonight put the final nail in the holder’s coffin. Great finish under pressure.
As seems inevitable whenever United are discussed, the chances of signing Gareth Bale from Real this summer came up in conversation, and we sat awaiting the usual response of “He’d be a great signing for them but I don’t think he’ll leave Madrid this summer”.
But Richardson has other ideas and revealed that according to one of his sources, the transfer is “almost a done deal”.
Watch the video below:
In his incredible revelation, Richardson said: “I think it’s almost a done deal to be honest.
“I know somebody very close to Gareth Bale and the public are not hearing the real thing.
“He’s very unhappy there and he’s unhappy with his treatment.”
Viewers may have expected Ogden to take a more reserved approach, but spoke only to reinforce that that Bale will be moving to United this summer.
“If I was a betting man and I had £50 spare to put on where he [Bale] would go, I think he’d end up here this summer,” said Ogden.
“I’ve just got this feeling that United want him, they’ve got the money to do it.
“Bale’s domestic situation is that his girlfriend and his daughter are living back in the UK, and he doesn’t speak the language.”
The move would certainly be a surprise, with United already moving to land a left-sided forward in the shape of Memphis Depay, who will move to Old Trafford in June after agreeing a reported £23m deal from PSV Eindhoven.
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