Gareth Bale’s expected transfer to Real Madrid has taken a surprise turn, with speculation that there may have been a late bid from Manchester United. The Spanish press seem certain that the Welsh attacker will imminently complete his world record £86 million transfer to the Bernabeu, yet BBC Sport is among the outlets to report that Tottenham have received an offer from another club for the Welshman.
The identity of the club remains a mystery, but United looks to be the likely candidate. The Premier League champions have been linked with Bale through much of the summer as they look to make a marquee signing to kick-start the David Moyes era at Old Trafford. Still, a move to Real Madrid has always appeared the most probable scenario.
Bale is thought to be keen on a move to the Spanish capital, while it is hard to imagine Tottenham preferring to sell their star man to a Premier League rival. Despite the late development, any other outcome other than the 24-year-old being paraded at the Bernabeu is rather far-fetched.
Another optimistic transfer target Manchester United have had this summer is their former star Cristiano Ronaldo. With the Portuguese forward entering the final two years of his contract and giving less than committal responses about his long-term future at Real Madrid, a return to Old Trafford has been much mooted.
United have certainly looked at that possibility, but Ronaldo is set to stay at Madrid -- at least for the time being. The Guardian has reported that Ronaldo has informed United that he wants to come back to the club one day, likely to end his career. Any future transfer would not be straightforward and the story states that Ronaldo is expected to sign a new contract with the Spanish giants. A concerted effort by United to sign the 28-year-old may transpire next summer, with United believing that Ronaldo could be open to spending the final three or four season of his career at Old Trafford.
As for possible signings before the close of the current transfer window, much speculation continues to surround Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines. United have has a £28 million joint bid rejected for the Everton pair, before Moyes made some inflammatory comments about his former players last week. The United boss claimed that he would have “found it very difficult” to deny the players the opportunity to play for Manchester United if he was still their manager.
Unsurprisingly, the remarks didn’t go down well with Moyes’s successor at Everton, Roberto Martinez. And, if anything, the Scot appears to have strengthened his former club’s determination to hold onto left-back Baines and midfielder Fellaini.
“If managers start talking about players registered with other clubs that's the end of the whole thing,” the Spaniard said, according to Sky Sports. "I think everyone should look after their own things internally. I'm sure they've got many issues in the same manner.
"I could easily come out and give my opinion about his players, but I think I'll be a bit more respectful than that."
When United meet Chelsea on Monday night, as well as the important action on the field, there are also plenty of subplots off the pitch. Chelsea’s interest in prying Wayne Rooney away from Old Trafford is well known, while it has also been reported in recent days that United hold an interest in Juan Mata. A swap deal has even be mooted, something which Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho did not completely rule out when asked about it ahead of the match at Old Trafford.
“That's hypothetical, because they didn't ask," Mourinho said, according to Sky Sports. "The two answers we got from Man United is 'we don't accept the bid', 'we're not interested in selling the player.’ That's the only official contact we had with Man United. Till Monday, we have nothing more to add to it."