Manchester United are reportedly preparing a bid of at least £75 million in an attempt to lure Real Madrid's Gareth Bale to Old Trafford.
According to John Cross and Neil Moxley in the Mirror, the Red Devils "are ready to re-launch a £75million-plus bid" for the Welshman as Louis van Gaal looks to add a superstar to the Old Trafford ranks.
The report added that Rafael Benitez's sacking—and the subsequent instalment of Zinedine Zidane—has given United increased hopes of pulling off a big-money deal for Bale.
Pete Jenson in the Daily Mail similarly reported that the Spanish manager's departure "could increase United's chances of landing Bale" in the summer because the 26-year-old was very comfortable with Benitez as manager.
Bale joined Los Blancos in 2013 from Tottenham Hotspur for a world-record transfer fee of £85 million.
He has not always had the best of times at the Madrid club but is enjoying an impressive season having been given a key role by Benitez, per Squawka:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Gareth Bale has now been directly involved in 16 goals in 13 games in La Liga this term (9 goals, 7 assists). #RMCF https://t.co/KbNusGfzSA2016-1-3 21:08:31
As a result it seems unlikely Real would be prepared to make a loss on Bale. It seems more likely that United will have to pay in excess of £85 million if they want to sign the winger in the summer.
Indeed, Rory Smith of the Times reported that Real president Florentino Perez may demand as much as £150 million.
If Bale is dissatisfied with the departure of Benitez and attempts to force his way out of the club then the fee may be lowered slightly, but United are going to have to spend big if they are to get their man.
It could be worth it, however, given how the Red Devils could do with a star of Bale's quality.
They have often looked uninspired in attack this season and the Welshman could be just the man they need to propel them back to the upper echelons of English and European football.
Another attacking target who has been on United's radar for some time is Southampton's Sadio Mane, who is reportedly trying to force a move away from Saints with Bayern Munich and Chelsea also said to be interested in him.
Per Cross in the Mirror, the 23-year-old Senegalese has told the south-coast club he does not want to sign a new contract—his current deal expires in 2018—a move which could force Southampton into a £30 million sale.
The report added that United are eager to sign Mane in January with Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe suggesting they need to make a couple of new-year additions to have any chance at the Premier League title this season:
However, Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail indicated a summer departure is much more likely for the winger.
There are serious questions over whether Mane is worth £30 million or whether he is good enough to make an impact at United—his tally of three Premier League goals and six assists this season is decent if not spectacular, per WhoScored.com.
But with United needing added depth and variety in attack they may well be tempted to snap him up if they can negotiate a January deal.