Premier League leaders Manchester United have enquired after the services of Welsh international Gareth Bale, according to Goal.com, and have been quoted a price of £70m by Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.
The report states United chief executive David Gill spoke to Levy last week and was told he would have to offer a world record fee for Bale, if Spurs were to lose him to a domestic rival. The 23-year-old forward has been in exceptional form this season, with 21 goals and eight assists from 36 appearances in all competitions.
That kind of form has earned him concentrated attention from Real Madrid, who have been linked with a move for the left-sided player for much of this campaign. And the latest reports suggest Madrid president Florentino Perez will offer a player-plus-cash deal for Bale that will include Croatian midfielder Luka Modric; the 27-year-old left White Hart Lane for the Santiago Bernabeu last summer but has failed to establish himself in Jose Mourinho's team.
Bale was also linked to Barcelona but the Catalans have denied interest. Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are, though, with ex-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola set to take over from Jupp Heynckes in the summer and a £50m bid mooted.
Amidst all of this interest, Levy and Andre Villas-Boas have been working to prepare a new and highly lucrative five-year contract for their star, which the Mail reports, is expected to be worth £40m.
Bale and Manchester United?
Exorbitant contracts and transfer fees aside, Sir Alex Ferguson's reported interest in Bale re-ignites the debate over Wayne Rooney's future at Old Trafford. The 27-year-old England striker has not been at his best this season, whether because of the arrival of Dutch international Robin van Persie or fitness problems.
And the fact the ex-Everton man was benched last midweek, when Madrid came to town for the second leg of the clubs' Champions League tie, suggested his time at Old Trafford was coming to a close.
Ferguson promptly denied such speculation the following day but the potential arrival of Bale must surely worry Rooney. As of now, Ferguson has van Persie, Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck for the forward slots, with the likes of Shinji Kagawa, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Nani playing creative roles. And Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha arrives in the summer.
There is already, then, a rush for first team football and were United to spend a world record fee on Bale, he will almost definitely be first pick for every game. And based on present form, so would van Persie. This leaves Rooney to fight Welbeck and Hernandez for a first team place and both youngsters have been impressive enough to suggest they deserve an extended run in the team.
Bale and Tottenham?
Of course, it could all be for nothing. Tottenham are third in the Premier League, two points clear of Chelsea and seven ahead of north London rivals Arsenal. Champions League football next season is a prospect that is firmly in the club's own hands and should that happen, Bale has reportedly told friends he will remain at the Lane.
"At the moment, Gareth wants to stay at Tottenham," a source told Goal.com,If Tottenham get in the Champions League next season, that is likely to be the decisive factor in making up his mind. He wants to test himself abroad at some point and everyone knows Real Madrid and a few others are interested but it is all about the timing. Gareth is still only 23 and he is very happy at Tottenham."