Chelsea duo Juan Mata and Eden Hazard make up the shortlist as the nominations for the annual award are announced, with the winner to be revealed on Sunday April 28
The surprise name to miss out on a nomination is Swansea striker Michu, who has scored 17 goals in his debut Premier League season.
2011 champions Bale is the favourite to win the competition after an outstanding season with Tottenham, scoring 17 goals in 27 Premier league appearances, and also putting in some stunning performances with Wales.
Luis Suarez leads the Premier League golden boot race with 22 goals for Liverpool this season, as he recovered from a stormy year to put in some fantastic performances for the Reds under new manager Brendan Rodgers.
Reigning champion Robin van Persie is second to Suarez in the scoring charts this season, in his first year at Old Trafford, chipping in with crucial goals and eight assists as Manchester United look set to seal their 20th league title.
Juan Mata has had an exceptional second season at Chelsea, scoring 10 league goals and 11 assists despite off-field turmoil at Stamford Bridge.
Mata's team-mate Eden Hazard has also adapted well to the Premier League, wowing fans with his skills alongside his eight goals and nine assists.
A surprising inclusion on the list is Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick, who has in the past been criticised for his lack of influence in the midfield. However, the 31-year-old has proved critics wrong this season, only missing one Premier League game all year.
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