The summer transfer market is in full swing and one deal that may have turned a few heads will have been Gareth Bale’s decision to move Stateside and start a new challenge at MLS outfit LAFC.
Previously, the MLS was seen as something of an afterthought, a dumping ground for players who was fast approaching the autumn of their careers – Thierry Henry and Steven Gerrard are just a couple of names that spring to mind.
Bale, meanwhile, had been out of favour at Real Madrid for a while and after incurring the wrath of the fans, his decorated spell at the Bernabeu reached an unsavoury conclusion.
Barely a month after getting his hands on his fifth Champions League title in Paris, Bale, who has been unfairly ridiculed for caring more about his golfing exploits, has made a bold decision in joining LAFC.
The mercurial Welshman is far from past his peak, and he initially put pen to paper on a one-year deal with LAFC, although there is a chance this could be extended.
Of course, Bale is a poster boy for Wales and while the World Cup will have been factored into his thinking, he needs regular time if he’s going to stay match sharp.
Interestingly, Bale’s move coincided with Lorenzo Insigne’s move to Toronto FC, and the former Napoli forward will now be the highest earner in the MLS.
Although it has taken time for the MLS to grow in profile, there is still plenty of interest in the league, which usually attracts decent TV viewing figures. This is the case during the regular season as well as in the playoffs, where you can usually expect a few upsets.
Indeed, aside from fans filling up stadiums week in and week out, you can expect bookmakers from all over the world to enjoy a slice of action. For example, you can find bookmakers in Australia, such as bet365, who are usually quick to post odds for each league game, and you can usually find some enticing props, such as whether a player will provide an assist or score at least two goals in a game.
As far as Bale is concerned, the MLS represents a fresh opportunity and a chance to revitalise his career. In many ways, LAFC have made a statement of intent and signing Bale represents a coup on their part.
Although the MLS may be seen as a step down to some fans, Bale has a perfect opportunity to remind those of his talent and why he can still be a force to be reckoned with. Bale’s career is far from finished and the MLS is just what he needs right now.