Manchester United are preparing an offer to lure Real Madrid target Gareth Bale in the summer. The Mirror believes Sir Alex Ferguson will bank on what he believes is the Welsh international's preference for Old Trafford over Santiago Bernabeu.

Gareth Bale

Bale has had an excellent season so far, with 20 goals and four assists from 30 Premier League games. That kind of form has seen him win the PFA double - PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year and the Football Writers' Award, as well as strong interest from Madrid.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy earlier placed a £60m+ price tag on his star player and the Mirror believes he is preparing a new £170,000 per week contract, to retain his services.

Madrid have been linked with a move for several months, with steadily increasing bid amounts, starting from £33m and ending in reports of £60m, as advised by former star Zinedine Zidane.

An all-out bidding war between United and Madrid appears likely, despite Spurs' coach Andre Villas-Boas claiming he would not sell Bale even if the club missed qualifying for the Champions League. The ex-Chelsea boss sought to correct earlier speculation that the Welshman would leave if the club failed to qualify for Europe's elite competitor.

"The information I have from the club that was mistakenly written about last week is that the player will remain here irrespective of Champions League qualification being achieved or not... in football anything can happen. It is impossible to predict. This is the assurance I have from the club," the Portuguese said.

Ferguson has already expressed disappointment at being unable to sign Bale while the player was still at Southampton so if he does enter this race, then expect a more determined assault from the Scot.