Manchester United will reportedly make a world-record offer in an attempt to land Real Madrid star Gareth Bale this summer, with sources close to the Spanish giants said to be confident a deal will go through.
Jonathan Northcroft of the Sunday Times wrote that United are willing to pay a world-record £90 million in an attempt to sign the forward, with “priority target” Bale said to be “weighing up the football and family attractions of returning to England.”
Additionally, according to Rob Draper of the Mail on Sunday, Bale was unhappy about the sacking of former coach Rafael Benitez and sent text messages to Real president Florentino Perez and managing director Enrique Sanchez-Gonzalez making his feelings clear.
It’s claimed while the Welshman is supportive of Zidane and vice versa, a transfer could still happen:
Although Bale has been supportive of the new coach, and scored a hat-trick in Zidane's first game in charge against Deportivo on Saturday night, the fact that he was close to Benitez will encourage Manchester United in their pursuit of the player this summer.
And although Zidane has reiterated that he wants Bale to stay, others close to the club believe the move will happen in the summer. Real Madrid would expect United to pay a world record £120 million fee if they want the Welshman.
There’s been plenty of speculation about Bale since Benitez was given the axe, but the Welshman did his talking on the field in Zidane’s first game in charge.
The former Tottenham Hotspur man netted a brilliant hat-trick as Real beat a decent Deportivo la Coruna team 5-0 on Saturday. As we can see here courtesy of Bleacher Report UK, Bale’s numbers make for impressive reading since he signed for the club in a record-breaking transfer:
Bleacher Report UK @br_uk
Gareth Bale at Real Madrid: 108 Games 51 Goals 36 Assists https://t.co/maOrCEFQrH2016-1-10 09:10:27
At the moment, the 26-year-old is Los Blancos’ most important player. Granted, in Ronaldo Real still have a goalscorer, but at the moment Bale is doing it all.
His work in possession, devastating driving runs and ability to take on opposition defenders makes him indispensable at the Santiago Bernabeu, and, as such, it’d be a massive surprise if any sale was sanctioned.
Indeed, according to Neil Moxey of the Sunday People (h/t the Daily Mirror) Bale remains content with life in the Spanish capital and has no intention of pushing for a move. Zidane, it’s claimed, wants to keep both the Welshman and Ronaldo at the club beyond the summer.
What could potentially tempt Real into engaging in some kind of business with United is David De Gea.
According to Draper, the goalkeeper could be “offset” against any amount offered for Bale. It’s noted in the piece that “sources at Real Madrid believe there is a £30 million clause in his contract, and they expect to sign him this summer.”
As former England international striker Gary Lineker noted last month, some of the stellar work done by De Gea between the sticks has been sparing the blushes of United boss Louis van Gaal:
Gary Lineker @GaryLineker
David de Gea is so good he could save Van Gaal.2015-12-28 18:37:03
A deal came close to being struck by Real for De Gea last summer, but it collapsed at the last minute. Therefore, it’d be little surprise to see Los Blancos go back in for the Spain international once again at the end of the season.
There aren’t many teams in European football that wouldn’t be bettered by the United stopper. While there has been plenty of ire directed at Van Gaal for his team’s awful attacking play, at the back they are rock solid and De Gea’s influence has a lot to do with that.
However, as noted by Ben Hayward of Goal, in Keylor Navas, Real have a goalkeeper who is performing similar heroics to De Gea at the moment:
Ben Hayward @bghayward
As soon as Keylor Navas dipped in form, so too did Madrid. The Costa Rican was hiding a multitude of sins in Real's defence...2016-1-3 20:17:40
Bale may well be pondering possibilities ahead of the summer window, but it’d still be a huge surprise to see Real cash in. The forward is growing as a player at the Bernabeu after a turbulent second campaign at the club and is once again adored by the Madridistas.
The money being quoted is remarkable, but Bale is on course to become one of the best players in the world.
If De Gea does have a £30 million clause in his contract, then Real should have no hesitation about bringing him in, independent of any interest in Bale. Navas has been doing a wonderful job this season, but the Spanish goalkeeper is a superstar and the kind of big-name player which Madrid supporters crave.