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Gareth Bale poised to decide on his future with one eye open on World Cup bid

Welsh international Gareth Bale. Photo: Zac Goodwin/PA

Welsh international Gareth Bale. Photo: Zac Goodwin/PA

John PercyTelegraph Media Group Limited

Gareth Bale is poised to make a decision on his future in the next 48 hours.

Bale is close to agreeing a deal to play on next season and was spotted at Cardiff City’s training ground yesterday, but it is understood there are no guarantees he will join the Championship club.

After Wales secured their place at the World Cup finals for the first time in 64 years, Bale received a number of offers from clubs across the world to continue his career.

Bale wants to ensure he is in peak condition for the tournament in Qatar, which starts in November, and Wales’ qualification has postponed any plans of early retirement.

The 32-year-old, out of contract after leaving Real Madrid, has several options on the table with MLS teams, former club Tottenham and Newcastle, as well as a return to his home-town club, suggested as possible destinations.

Bale would obviously have to take a huge pay cut – he reportedly earned a £600,000 per week at Real – to sign for Cardiff.

But his agent Jonathan Barnett said in a recent interview that “what Gareth does next is not about money”, with Bale’s primary focus on what is best for him playing-wise before leading Wales in their first World Cup since 1958.

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest are in talks with Liverpool over a £15 million (€17.4m) deal for Neco Williams, the Wales defender.

Steve Cooper, the Forest head coach, has moved in for Williams with the club discussing a potential fee with Liverpool. Fulham are also in the chase to sign the right-back, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Craven Cottage, but Cooper is hopeful of securing a deal for his fellow Welshman.

Liverpool will demand an initial fee of £15m for Williams and are reluctant to sanction a loan transfer this summer.

Elsewhere, Crystal Palace are hopeful of beating Manchester United in the race to sign Derby County teenager Malcolm Ebiowei.

Palace and United are both interested in signing the 18-year-old, who made 16 appearances in the Championship last season.

Ebiowei has represented both England and Holland at youth level, and was seen as one of the brightest prospects in the Championship after breaking into Wayne Rooney’s first team.

Palace are now considered to be the most likely destination for the winger but United are still keen on bringing him to Old Trafford.

Ebiowei, a former Arsenal youth player, signed a one-year deal with Derby at the start of last season after leaving Rangers.

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