Gareth Bale has insisted he is happy at Real Madrid and has no plans to move to Manchester United. The former Tottenham forward has been repeatedly linked with a transfer back to the Premier League with United in the summer, following reports that he was ready to walk away from the European champions.
The man who became the most expensive player in history just 18 months ago was subjected to boos from his own supporters recently after failing to pass to Cristiano Ronaldo. Meanwhile, there have been claims that United were lining up a package to finally get their hands on a player they tried to sign before he joined Real Madrid. Bale, though, is adamant there is no truth to the rumors.
“I can't see myself at Manchester United,” he told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser. “I am very happy here. I still have many years left on my contract and I want to keep winning titles in this team. I feel the love from the crowd. I am going to continue working to show what I am capable of doing on the pitch and so as to win more trophies.”
As well as Bale, Manchester United have also been linked with a big summer transfer for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba. Momentum has been building behind the thought that the supremely gifted France international will be on his way out of the Italian champions sooner rather than later, following recent comments from Pogba’s agent and Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri. And United, who saw Pogba walk out of the club to join Juventus in the summer of 2012, are widely believed to be prominent among a collection of European powers -- including Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain -- who want to secure his services.
But, according to current teammate Andrea Pirlo, Pogba, who left Old Trafford after failing to get the first-team opportunities and contract terms he desired, will have no desire to return to the Premier League giants.
“For whatever reasons they chose not to give him a chance -- and that is a mistake they will have to live with now,” Pirlo said, according to the Daily Mail. “I can’t see that he [Pogba] will ever return to Manchester United.”
In the terms of the January transfer window, Manchester United are running out of time to bolster their squad before next Monday’s deadline. Securing a center-back is widely believed to be the priority for manager Louis van Gaal, but it appears the club could be frustrated this month. The Daily Star has reported this week that United are set to step up their pursuit of leading target Mats Hummels. However, there continues to appear little chance of the German World Cup winner being prized away from Borussia Dortmund midway through the season.
Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte has also been linked, but again there are severe hurdles to any deal being struck. Athletic shown several times in recent years that they won’t allow their top players to depart unless their buy-out clause is met and the situation is put beyond their control. And the Daily Mirror is the latest publication to report that the same will be the case regarding their highly rated 20-year-old central defender. A price tag of 42 million euros (£32 million) may be prohibitive, even to a club of United’s vast resources.