Gareth Bale’s former club Tottenham have stolen a march on Manchester United in the race to sign him, according to reports.
Sportsmail revealed on Monday that United are considering a dramatic move for the Real Madrid forward with their hopes of signing Jadon Sancho fading.
The 31-year-old Welshman is one of several options on the table with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer determined to bring in a right-sided forward before the transfer window closes next month.
But ESPN report that Tottenham have moved ahead of the Old Trafford club and claim the north London club have already made efforts to strike a deal with their former star and the Spanish giants.
The report adds that while United’s chances of signing Bale hinge on the outcome of their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Sancho, Spurs manager Jose Mourinho has made it clear to chairman Daniel Levy that he needs attacking reinforcements to ease the goalscoring burden on Harry Kane.
The same outlet adds Bale is attracted by the prospect of a move to Old Trafford, but claim Spurs have the upper hand because United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer only sees the four-time Champions League winner as a back-up option to Sancho.
Bale has been frozen out by coach Zinedine Zidane and is keen to leave the Bernabeu after Madrid scuppered his transfer to Jiangsu Suning in China in January by demanding a transfer fee once he had agreed wages of £1million-a-week.
Bale moved to Spain from Tottenham for £85m in 2013 and still has two years left on his contract, but Madrid have expressed a willingness to pay 50 per cent of his £600,000-a-week salary to help smooth his departure.
And if United opt for a move for Bale, they are likely to propose a loan which would allow them to try again for Sancho at the end of the season.
But Bale’s age and recent injury record will count against him and there are still many stages to pass before a return to the Premier League occurs.
Bale scored 56 goals in 203 appearances for Spurs between 2007 and 2013 after arriving from Southampton in 2007.
Despite having revived their long-standing interest in Bale, United are keeping their options open with Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic, Kingsley Coman of Bayern Munich and Douglas Costa, who was put up for sale by Juventus at the weekend, among the other players under consideration.
The Old Trafford hierarchy began exploring other possibilities after accepting that it may not be possible to sign Sancho before the transfer deadline on October 5.
United agreed terms with the 20-year-old player and his representatives last week, but Dortmund are refusing to accept anything below their £108m valuation. The player is also happy in Germany and is reticent to force through a move.