Manchester United renew their interest in Gareth Bale following Benitez sacking
Manchester United are reportedly set to step up their bid to sign Gareth Bale from Real Madrid, with Rafael Benitez’s removal as head coach of the Spanish giants on Monday viewed as a source of encouragement for Old Trafford chiefs.
United tried and failed with moves to sign Bale last summer, but the Daily Mirror are among those reporting that Benitez’s demise may pave the way for the Welshman’s arrival in Manchester.
Benitez was a big supporter of Bale and vowed to build his Real Madrid team around the talents of the world’s most expensive player, but the former Tottenham star remains something of a divisive among the club’s supporters.
Bale was jeered by sections of the Real Madrid crowd last season and while the club insist he is not for sale, United have been given some encouragement to suggest a deal could be possible next summer.
Independent.ie understands that Bale will not be leaving Real Madrid in this transfer window, but a shake-up of the squad next summer could see him edged out by a new manager.
ISCO NOT GOING ANYWHERE
I may have inadvertently started something of a Twitter spat yesterday in a jovial exchange with Sky Sports Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.
@kpsundayworld a lot of people with no information whatsoever make things up in transfer windows for their own lucrative reasons— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) January 4, 2016
After Balague insisted there was “zero chance” of Real Madrid midfielder Isco moving to England’s Premier League this month, I pointed out to him that his Sky Sports colleague Graham Hunter had just appeared on an English radio show to suggest a deal would go through if a £30m asking price was submitted.
Balague’s response left many to conclude he did not entirely agree with his colleague’s sentiments:
While it remains to be seen whether Isco will leave Real Madrid this month, we will let you decide who this tweet from Mr Balague was directed at.
CHELSEA JOIN SADIO MANE CHASE
Southampton have insisted that they will not sell their star forward Sadio Mane in this transfer window - but that has not stopped an ongoing flow of rumours suggestion he could be making a move this month.
Mane’s omission from the Southampton side for their game at Norwich last Saturday after he failed to report for a pre-match team meeting fuelled suggestions that he may be agitating for a move in this transfer window.
Yet even though Southampton have made it clear they will sell none of their star names this month, fresh reports in the UK media are suggesting that Mane will refuse to sign a new contract with Saints as he agitates for a move.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror are reporting that Chelsea and Bayern Munich are joining the race to try and sign Mane, who would be eligible to play in the Champions League for either club next month.
Saints may not want to sell, but their hand may be forced if enough money is put on the table and Mane and his agent kick up enough of a fuss to engineer a transfer that could be worth up to £40m.
ARSENAL EYE UP MOVE FOR DEENEY
Arsenal are believed to be on the look-out for a back-up striker in this transfer window, with reports in The Sun today claiming Watford striker Troy Deeney is on their wanted list.
Deeney has made a big impression in the Premier League this season and his partnership with Odion Ighalo had all-but secured the Hornets status as a top flight club for another season.
We at Independent.ie believe Arsenal would be wise to make a move for Ighalo over Deeney and if either does end up at the Gunners training base in the next few weeks, they will barely have to alter their path to work.
Watford’s training base is right next door to Arsenal’s plush HQ in the Hertfordshire countryside.