Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale is unlikely to join Manchester United or any other club during the final week of the summer transfer window, says Wales manager Chris Coleman. The 26-year-old has been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League but a deal is not expected to be completed before the 1 September deadline.
ESPN understands that United have not given up hope of signing Bale this summer after missing out on acquiring Pedro from Barcelona, and that they are planning a final offer in order to push a deal through. The news follows reports that United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has told associates that the club are working on alternative targets, according to the Daily Mail.
Bale endured a difficult second season with Real – one in which the club saw rivals Barcelona win the treble – which has led to rumours of a move to United intensifying. The former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur winger's troubles could yet continue should new manager Rafael Benitez persist with deploying him in a central position, which already appears to be causing problems.
A deadline day departure for Bale would come a day before Wales are due to fly out to Cyprus for the first of two European Championship qualifiers. Therefore Coleman does not expect a deal to be completed.
"You never know in football, but unless something has been going on behind closed doors that none of us know about I can't see anything happening," Coleman told a press conference to announce his squad for the games against Cyprus and Israel, according to BBC Sport. "The finances involved in signing something like that are astronomical. I see the media speculation, of course, but that is a major, major deal – another world record if he was going to move. You never know, football being football, but I've not heard anything that makes me think he will be coming back, playing his football in this country."
During the opening weekend goalless draw with Sporting Gijon, Bale – who played the full 90 minutes – picked up a toe problem. However, the injury is not expected to affect his participation in the Euro 2016 qualifying double-header.
"When it initially happens you're holding your breath a bit," Coleman admitted, according to the Daily Mail. "But the scan and feedback was positive, thankfully. I don't think it will be a problem. There have been constant conversations with both medical teams. There is a very good relationship there. We still have a bit of time yet. It wasn't as bad as first thought."