Gareth Bale’s chances of moving to Jiangsu Suning are all but over after the Chinese Super League side signed Croatian striker Ivan Santini from Anderlecht to reach their quota of foreign players.
The Real Madrid forward has been tipped to leave the club as Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane did not see the Welshman in his plans for next season.
Jiangsu Suning had reportedly offered Bale a £1m-a-week deal to make the move to the Far East and an agreement was claimed to be imminent.
However, reports over the weekend suggested the deal had been called off at Real’s request, with the Spanish giants reluctant to let Bale go on a free transfer.
Any hopes of the deal with Jiangsu Suning being revived have seemingly been quashed by their deal for Santini.
The club also signed Brazilian defender Miranda from Inter last week, meaning they now have five foreign players on their books.
Chinese Super League regulations only allow clubs to have four overseas-born players included in their official squads at any one time.
Former Liverpool defender Gabriel Paletta, who is Italian, is expected to leave the club to bring that tally down to four, but there would still be no room for Bale.
The club’s other two foreign players, Brazilian Alex Teixeira and Italian Eder Martins, are considered first-team regulars so are unlikely to be moved on in order to accommodate the former Tottenham man.
Bale, who has three years left on his contract, now has to consider pushing for another move elsewhere or remaining at Real, where a first-team place is far from guaranteed.
Zidane has made it clear that Bale no longer figures in his plans but the club have found it hard to move the player on.
The Spanish side are looking to recoup some funds after an extensive summer outlay so would be reluctant to let Bale go for nothing, but finding a club willing to pay a transfer fee and match Bale’s lucrative wages has proved impossible so far.
Madrid have welcomed Bale back into their pre-season squad and with a serious injury suffered by Marco Asensio depriving them of an attacking option, may now have little choice but to find a place for him in the squad for the 2019-20 campaign.