Manchester United have had an audacious bid to sign Gareth Bale and Raphael Varane rejected by Real Madrid.
According to reports in Spain, United lodged a combined offer worth around £110million for the pair as they seek to strengthen their squad ahead of a push for the Premier League title next season.
Bale is a long-standing target for United, with the Wales international having endured a difficult second season in Spain. He has been the subject of taunts from fans angered by poor performances, while his relationship with star player Cristiano Ronaldo has also been cool.
Bale does have a supporter in Real president Florentino Perez, who sanctioned his world-record transfer from Tottenham in 2013, but Real might be forced to sell if they wish to sign more big-name talents this summer - including United's goalkeeper David de Gea, who is stalling on a new contract offer at Old Trafford.
Varane, meanwhile, is one of the most coveted centre-halves in Europe having also attracted interest from Chelsea as they seek a long-term replacement for their captain John Terry.
Spanish newspaper Cuatro and El Mundo Deportivo have reported that Real immediately rebuffed United's offer for Bale and Varane but predicted they would return later in the summer.
Real are unlikely to do any business before Rafael Benitez has been appointed as their new manager. The Spaniard will be formally unveiled at a press conference in Madrid today, where he is likely to be asked about Bale's future.
Meanwhile, the Mirror has reported that United misfit Nani is a possible transfer target for Inter Milan.
The Portugal winger spent last season on loan at Sporting Lison after falling out of favour at Old Trafford and appears unlikely to be in contention for Louis van Gaal's first-team squad in 2015-16.
It had been expected that Nani would have to return to United anyway as they struggled to find clubs willing to take on his £110,000-a-week wages.
Last month, when asked about his future, Nani said: “The fans asked me to stay, but we all know it’s hard. I am very happy to have spent a year at Sporting, but I have a contract with Manchester United and my ambitions are different this time.”
But Inter could afford to take that kind of hit and if their interest is followed up, it would not be a surprise to see United enter negotiations.
Paul Pogba has insisted he was right to leave Manchester United for Juventus after saying that Saturday’s Champions League final against Barcelona justifies his decision to walk out on Sir Alex Ferguson.