Thursday 21 November 2019

Louis van Gaal to table one final bid for Gareth Bale before the window closes

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring his side's fifth goal against Real Betis on Saturday
Real Madrid's Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring his side's fifth goal against Real Betis on Saturday

Speculation began to increase late last night that Manchester United are willing to make one final bid of £72.5m for Gareth Bale.

Louis van Gaal hasn’t exactly been subtle in his assessment that his Manchester United squad lack a Galactico, in the mould that many other clubs boast.

 “Chelsea have Hazard,” Van Gaal said earlier this summer. “He can always make goals, he can always make an action and decide a goal. Chelsea also have Willian and Oscar. Manchester City have [Sergio] Agüero, it’s the same type. Barcelona has [Lionel] Messi, Neymar and [Luis] Suárez. We as Manchester United have to compete with these clubs, so we have to look also for that kind of players.

“You need creative players. You need that because you have to disorganise [teams that park] the bus and, next year, there might be more teams who are parking the bus, so we must look for more creativity.”

As reported earlier this summer, van Gaal and the Manchester United board believe that Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale can provide this creative function, and have been undeterred by Madrid’s insistence that Bale is not available. And now, the Italian journalist and beIN Sports correspondent, Tancredi Palmeri, is suggesting that Manchester United have made one final offer for the Welshman.

His claims were given some extra credence by the fact that Bale flew immediately back home to the UK after contributing two goals in Real Madrid’s 5-0 victory against Real Betis on Saturday night, well in advance of joining up with his national teammates ahead of the next round of Euro 2016 qualifiers. Wales, who are currently sitting top of Group B, are to play Cyprus and Israel.

Although incoming Madrid manager Rafael Benitez began the start of the new season by claiming that he wanted to build his future team around Bale, most at Madrid see the 26 year old as the most expendable of Madrid’s Galacticos. In fact, readers of the influential Marca magazine recently voted to drop Bale from the starting XI altogether, in favour of a Ronaldo/Isco/James trio, to be deployed behind a lone Benzema. And it is such discontent that has given United hope of luring Bale back to more familiar pastures.

Meanwhile, Telegraph Sport yesterday helped break the story that Manchester United had launched a £36m move for the 19 year old Monaco striker, Anthony Martial.

Such a move for a teenager who only scored eight goals in 31 league appearances last season for Monaco, and who has scored only thirteen professional goals in his entire career, is an extraordinarily brave gamble for van Gaal and his directors to make.

However, United’s hand has been forced by a lack of options up front, and yesterday club legend Gary Neville was the latest to throw his weight behind the growing clamour for a new signing, telling Sky Sports that: “I'd be absolutely staggered if there wasn't a striker brought in. It has to happen."

"If [Javier] Hernandez leaves, they've got one striker. I'm not classing Fellaini as a striker. They've got one striker in Wayne Rooney,” he added.

"They've got the goalkeeper Romero and I said before the game the jury's out; I think today it's even more out now. From Manchester United's point of view, they have to resolve the centre-forward and the goalkeeper [situation] in the next two days. And hopefully it means they keep De Gea and they sign a striker.”

And Martial, who “well-placed sources in France” confirmed that United have contacted Monaco over the highly-rated French youngster, could yet prove to be the striker Neville is hoping for. Martial, who began his career at Lyon before switching to Monaco for a fee of €5 million plus bonuses, has just earned his first call-up into Didier Deschamps’ France squad.

Javier Hernandez now looks certain to leave United, with a number of publications featuring stories about his imminent departure yesterday evening. Germany’s kicker Sportmagazin were one of the first to claim that he was set to move to Bayer Leverkusen in a £12million deal, before the Daily Mail added further detail.

Their journalist, Simon Jones, claimed that the Mexican striker had signed a three year deal with the club, and that he was first told he was surplus to requirements at Old Trafford on Friday night. He subsequently said goodbye to his teammates upon the squad’s arrival in Swansea, where van Gaal gave a short speech thanking him for his service to the club.

It is believed that Tottenham Hotspur made a formal approach into the player’s services, and that West Ham had also expressed an informal interest. But United were unwilling to sell the striker to a Premier League rival, instead preferring to sell him at a lower cost to a foreign club.

Hernandez first moved to Manchester United from the Mexican side C.D. Guadalajara in 2010, and went on to score 59 goals in 157 appearances in a United shirt. ‘The Little Pea’ also spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, where he was sparingly used as a substitute, nevertheless finding the net no fewer than seven times in La Liga.

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