Pep Guardiola is reportedly lining up a £50m summer move for Gareth Bale to snap up the Tottenham Hotspur winger from under the noses of the player's long-time admirers Real Madrid.
The soon-to-be Bayern Munich manager is expected to be handed a transfer war chest of more than £100m in the summer, according to the Daily Mail. The Spanish tactician, who assembled the current Barcelona squad, has now earmarked the Welshman as his top target and is ready to shell out a major portion of his transfer budget to land his man.
The report claims Guardiola is having Bale scouted ahead of a sensational summer approach. The 23-year-old's next destination has been the subject of speculation for two years and will surely be a hot topic once again at the end of the current season.
So far, Real have been touted as favourites to sign the winger when he leaves White Hart Lane. Recent reports stated Los Blancos' president Florentino Perez would base his upcoming re-election campaign on bringing Bale to the Bernabeu in the summer and the Spaniard expects to be successful in his efforts, with a £38m bid at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, reports from Spain claim Real have already begun negotiations with Bale's representatives regarding a summer transfer and the player's agent Jonathan Barrett has held several meetings with Los Blancos chiefs. However, it now appears Guardiola, the former Barcelona boss, is set to lock horns with his old rivals once again.
Bale has been one of Europe's standout performers this season, with 17 goals and six assists to his name from 31 appearances for Spurs. The Southampton product has been in sublime form of late, scoring all six goals in his club's last four matches, including two spectacular free-kicks in the midweek 2-1 home win over Lyon in the Europa League.
"It's probably the best I've been playing so far in my career," Bale admitted, "but I've still got room for improvement. Season after season I have to improve in all areas. I just want to keep doing that, keep working hard and, hopefully, keep getting better."