According to the latest reports in AS, Manchester United have kept €150 million in reserve to sign Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale in the summer.
The Welsh international only joined Los Blancos 18 months ago and in spite of an excellent debut campaign his future has been subject to much speculation in recent months.
The Red Devils have already spent vast sums of money this season on improving their squad but their place in the top four – and subsequent Champions League qualification – remains in the balance.
The Spanish paper AS goes on to say that United's apparent lack of quality compared to title rivals Chelsea and City has prompted senior figures at the club to start planning for a monster deal to acquire Bale.
“Manchester United are committed to signing Gareth Bale and are willing to pay 150m euros for him. In fact, the English club have already set aside that amount in their budget in order to undertake the signing of the Cardiff-born forward,” AS reports.
What are the chances of United signing Bale in the summer?
In theory, the chances of United signing the Madrid forward are slim to say the least.
Italian boss Carlo Ancelotti has mentioned on a number of occasions that Bale remains a key figure at the Santiago Bernabeu and the club have little reason to sell him.
In an interview with Cadena Ser on Thursday quoted by AS, Bale himself rubbished the links to Old Trafford and spoke of his desire to remain in the Spanish capital.
“I am very happy. I am happy here, I still have many years of my contract left (until 2019) and I want to continue winning titles at Real Madrid," he was quoted as saying.
However, one ace in the pack which United have is goalkeeper David de Gea who according to the report in AS is attracting the interest of Madrid following his stunning form over the past 18 months.
Allowing the Spanish shot-stopper to join Madrid could give them a helping hand in signing Bale for less than his hefty price tag - though with United’s attacking riches is the Welshman really a necessity?