Wednesday 17 January 2018

Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal handed £100m for Gareth Bale capture

Gareth Bale is a summer target for Louis Van Gaal's Manchester United
Gareth Bale is a summer target for Louis Van Gaal's Manchester United

Mark Ogden

Louis van Gaal will be handed the funds to lure Gareth Bale to Manchester United this summer if the Wales winger signals an intention to leave Real Madrid.

With United standing to bank almost £100m in extra earnings next season due to an anticipated return to the Champions League and the start of their world-record £750m kit deal with Adidas, Van Gaal has been told that money will be made available to pursue Bale (right) at any stage of the transfer window if he becomes available.

Failure to qualify for this season's Champions League cost United up to £50m in lost revenue - a figure they expect to reclaim should Van Gaal's team secure the six points required from their final four Premier League fixtures to confirm a top-four finish.

And with the £75m-a-year kit deal with Adidas due to start on August 1, replacing a Nike deal which was worth £28m in the final year of the 13-year agreement, United's commercial income will be boosted by almost £50m as a result of their change of kit supplier.

With United's off-field income growing to such an extent, the club are prepared to press ahead with their existing plans for recruitment and then move for Bale should they be presented with the opportunity to bid for him.

Van Gaal has already identified Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels as a priority target, with the Dutchman also keen to recruit PSV Eindhoven winger Memphis Depay and Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne.

United will attempt to conclude the bulk of their incoming transfers before the squad depart on the pre-season tour of the United States on July 13, but Bale's uncertain future at Real has alerted Van Gaal and senior figures at Old Trafford to the prospect of the 25-year-old being allowed to leave the Bernabeu.

Bale, an £85million signing from Tottenham in August 2013, retains the influential backing of Real president Florentino Perez, who has defended the player against the criticism to which he has been subjected, including boos and whistles from the Spanish club's own supporters.

Mats Hummels could leave Borussia Dortmund this summer
Mats Hummels could leave Borussia Dortmund this summer

The former Southampton youngster is also understood to be prepared to fight to win over his doubters in Madrid having enjoyed a hugely successful first season at the club during which he scored decisive goals in finals of both the Champions League and Copa del Rey.

Reject United have maintained a long-standing interest in Bale, however, having initially failed to persuade him to reject Tottenham in order to move to Old Trafford on his departure from Southampton in 2007.

The club also made a late attempt to hijack his move from White Hart Lane to Real two years ago, when a $100million bid by United failed to persuade Bale to reject a move to Madrid.

With Bale's young family dividing their time between Madrid and Cardiff, there is a belief, not only at Old Trafford but within other leading Premier League clubs, that the Welshman will choose to resume his career in England at some stage.

And the difficulties experienced by the player in Madrid in recent months could yet prove the lever which may tempt him to consider a move to United.

But while United are prepared to win any race to sign Bale, the future of goalkeeper David de Gea will not be linked to the Real player. De Gea is continuing to resist United's attempts to secure him to a new £200,000-a-week long-term contract, with the former Atletico Madrid keeper aware of Real's willingness to sign him.

With De Gea understood to be torn between extending his contract at United and returning to his home city, where his pop star girlfriend Edurne Garcia Almagro is based, Real have now begun to consider alternatives, such as Tottenham's Hugo Lloris and Inter Milan goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

United are optimistic that a deal can be struck with Dortmund for Hummels, who has two years left on his contract. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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