Transfer Talk: Bale targets new club after firing Dragons to World Cup
Wales are heading to the World Cup and Gareth Bale will be desperate to be fighting fit in Qatar.
The former Real Madrid star is on the lookout for a new club ahead of the tournament after leaving the Bernabeu as a free agent.
There is certainly plenty of interest in the Dragons' talisman with more than 10 teams reportedly keen on securing his services.
Ahead of Wales' Nations League clash with Belgium tonight, we take a look at where Bale could be plying his trade next term.
World Cup preparation
Bale will be looking for a club that can provide him with regular first-team football after managing under 300 minutes in all competitions last term.
Speaking after last week's play-off victory over Ukraine, he said: "It's the greatest result in the history of Welsh football. We're going to a World Cup!
"Words can't describe how we feel at the moment.
"I'm just delighted we are going to a World Cup. It means everything, it's what dreams are made of. I'm speechless. I'm so glad we've done it for these amazing fans.
"It was difficult. I haven't played too much football these last three or four weeks because of my back spasm, but the most important thing was to get through.
"I give my all. I was running on empty but we've got good people on the bench to do a good job."
The 32-year-old will want to be in better condition when Wales kick off their World Cup campaign in Al Rayyan.
Going for goal
Bale netted five times for Wales in just seven World Cup qualifying games — and it was his free-kick that forced Andriy Yarmolenko's decisive own goal against Ukraine.
Though he has seen limited action at club level in recent seasons, the Cardiff native struck a remarkable 1.08 goals per 90 minutes while on loan at Tottenham in 2020-21.
That kind of record could pique the interest of Bale's first club Southampton, who scored an unremarkable 43 times in the Premier League last term.
Alongside his goalscoring prowess, Bale is also a first-class creator.
He registered three assists in World Cup qualifying, which was only matched by Harry Wilson in the Dragons' squad.
As the Welshman's physical attributes have waned in the latter stages of his career, he has started to drop deeper and play balls in behind opposition defences.
A move to MLS has been mooted in recent weeks and it is not hard to imagine Bale having a devastating creative impact in America.
Third time at Tottenham?
There have been suggestions that Bale could return to Tottenham for a third time this summer.
He is certainly a respected figure at his old club, having scored 72 career goals for Spurs across his two previous spells.
However, it is unlikely that the forward would command a regular starting spot under Antonio Conte — particularly if Dejan Kulusevski's loan move from Juventus is made permanent.
That may deter Bale from heading to North London.
It would be a shock move, but could Bale be on the verge of joining his boyhood club Cardiff?
The Bluebirds are interested in getting a deal done and chairman Mehmet Dalman is believed to have flown to the UK in order to start negotiations.
Bale clearly possesses quality beyond Championship level — but he may see a return to Wales as the perfect opportunity to rebuild his fitness after a season in the wilderness.
A chance to hit the ground running in England's second tier could be the ideal preparation for Qatar 2022.