Real Madrid’s hopes of dispensing with the services of Gareth Bale this summer are looking ever dimmer as the forward prepares to start the pre-season with the Blancos. Having already splashed out on five new signings in the current transfer window, Madrid know that, once Ferland Mendy is presented, Operation Exit must begin in earnest. With 37 players cluttering up the first-team squad the club must undergo a significant clear-out at the start of pre-season, which begins on July 8. Almost a third of those have been declared up for sale by those in charge at the Bernabeu. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Some of the Madrid squad have begun to pack their bags. Marco Llorente crossed the road for Atletico Madrid, while Mateo Kovacic is set to make permanent his move to Chelsea in the coming days. But there has been no movement on the man Florentino Perez would most like to see leave, and who, if he stays, is set to become an expensive pariah in 2019-20.The case of Bale is crucial to Madrid. Coach Zinedine Zidane has no interest in fielding the Wales international, a fact he showed no qualms in making clear towards the end of last season. But Bale will nevertheless be getting on the plane to Montreal with the rest of the Blancos squad, Goal can confirm, as what would have been the club’s biggest sale of the summer is completely stalled.For his part the player has similarly made clear that he wants to stay at the Bernabeu, ignoring the unsubtle hints sent his way by Zidane as well as the arrival of several new signings set to push him out of the forward line.The former Southampton and Tottenham winger would only consider a transfer that assures him the same lavish wage package he will enjoy in the Spanish capital until his contract expires in June 2022.There is no sign that the situation will be resolved with any haste. Right now there are no meetings planned to discuss his sale, no offers on the table and very little interest in Bale. Unless there is a rapid breakthrough, then, Zidane and Bale will meet face to face next week, prior to the start of the tour, ensuring some rather awkward silences on the long plane trip to Canada and later the United States.
zoom In an effort to put a floor under oil prices and allow demand growth to catch up with supply, the oil ministers from OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) plus Russia will meet in Doha on April 17 in order agree on oil production freeze, shipping company Teekay said.The global oil market oversupply, which began in 2014, coincided with the tanker market recovery, as high supply meant there were more barrels available for transport.This increase in supply available for transportation, coupled with a surge in oil consumption due to the dramatic drop in oil prices, created a perfect storm for tanker demand to increase significantly in 2014 and 2015.“So what would a production freeze mean for tanker demand going forward?” Teekay asks.Even if a production freeze agreement is reached, it is not necessarily negative for tanker demand in the near-term. Russia and most of OPEC are already producing at record high levels, which means that the crude tanker market should remain well supported until oil demand catches up with supply and oil prices begin to push higher.Even then, the rebalancing of oil prices is likely to take time, meaning that the crude tanker market should remain well-supported through the remainder of 2016.However, the agreement, which would see production capped at January 2016 levels, may prove difficult as Iran has stated that it will not participate in a production freeze given they have just emerged from sanctions.Furthermore, Saudi Arabia said that it will only agree to a production freeze if Iran and the rest of OPEC, along with Russia, also agree.OPEC and Russia currently account for around 46% of global crude oil production, therefore any agreement could have a significant impact on global oil markets, Teekay added.