Manchester United have been dealt a fresh blow in their pursuit of Gareth Bale.
The former Tottenham Hotspur attacker found some form late last season, and was crucial in Real Madrid lifting three consecutive UCL titles under Zinedine Zidane.
He came off the bench and scored a couple of scorchers to take his side to glory, but has otherwise struggled for game time under the French manager, and was vocal in his frustrations after the game.
The wide-man was earlier expected to quit the Bernabeu this summer, but Real Madrid have now replaced Zidane, with Julen Lopetegui already announced as his successor.
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And it is understood that the 29-year old is now ready to try and impress the former Spanish boss and become a regular member of the starting lineup.
Sources from ESPN claim that Bale is now determined to impress Lopetegui, and that he will stay put at the Spanish capital for at least another season. His contract with Real Madrid expires in 2022, and the La Liga giants are in no real need to sell.
He was linked with a move to Bayern Munich and Tottenham, but Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United have been his most consistent admirers, and are first in the line to sign him if Lopetegui decides to cash in on the player.
Bale needs assurances of first-team game-time to stay in Madrid, and it will be interesting to see if Lopetegui is able to offer him the same. But if Real do decide to sell him, he will fetch a big sum, which can help them improve other areas of their squad.
United were also looking at Kylian Mbappe, but the French teenager is now close to completing a permanent switch to PSG, leaving Gareth Bale as their top transfer target to improve their options in attack.
But these reports from ESPN, claiming that Bale wants to impress the new boss at the Bernabeu, will come as a huge blow for the Red Devils.