Chinese Super League Jiangsu Suning had agreed to sign Gareth Bale in August 2019, only for Real Madrid to pull the plug on the deal.
Real Madrid reportedly made a last minute demand for a transfer fee, despite initially agreeing to a free transfer.
The Chinese side then backed out of the deal, despite already agreeing terms with the Welsh international, according to manager Cosmin Olaroiu.
“The deal was very close to being agreed,” he told an interview with Dubai newspaper The National.
“The club had met and agreed a deal with his agent in Madrid, but then at the last minute, Real Madrid changed their mind.”
“At first they were happy for us to just pay his wages, with no transfer fee, but that changed.”
“Paying a transfer fee, and his wages, was over our budget, so we looked for another player.”
“The deal was 90% done, but then Real Madrid changed.”
If Jiangsu had paid a transfer fee for Bale they would also have been hit with a significant tax charge from the Chinese authorities, as per a rule change in 2018.
Bale has continued to be the subject of intense transfer speculation this season, despite his agent Jonathan Barnett labelling those rumours as ‘rubbish’.
He has not featured regularly for Zinedine Zidane this season, despite the French boss claiming he remains a key member of the squad.
The 30-year old has just 11 La Liga starts in 2019-20, and 16 appearances in all competitions so far.