Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has promised to fight to sign former Tottenham forward Gareth Bale if he is given the slightest hint that Real Madrid are willing to sell.
Bale, who has long been linked with a move to Old Trafford, has travelled with the Real squad for Tuesday's Uefa Super Cup showdown with Europa League winners United in Skopje.
A successful pursuit of Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe may tempt Real to part with Bale, who they prised away from White Hart Lane in 2013 for a then world record £85m. In such circumstances, Mourinho insists he would be ready to pounce.
“Well if Bale is playing tomorrow, no I wouldn’t think of that. It’s because he’s in the coach’s plans and the club’s plans, because he also has that motivation to continue at Real Madrid,” said Mourinho. “So I haven’t even thought about the possibility.
“If he is not in the club’s plans, with the arrival of another player, that would mean he was on his way out. I will try to be waiting for him on the other side and fight with other coaches that would want him on their team.
“But if he plays, that is the best confirmation that he is wanted by the team.”
Bale only committed his long-term future to Real in October, signing a new deal which ties him to the Spanish capital until 2022, although he made just 17 league starts for Zinedine Zidane’s outfit last season.
The 28-year-old was sidelined for large swathes of the campaign due to ankle and calf injuries and was a substitute as Real hammered Juventus in Cardiff to conquer Europe for a 12th time.
United have had a busy summer and have already concluded a £75m deal for striker Romelu Lukaku from Everton, and signed midfielder Nemanja Matic from Chelsea for £40m and centre-half Victor Lindelof from Benfica for £31m.