Former Arsenal forward Charlie Nicholas has urged Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal to splash the cash in signing Real Madrid star Gareth Bale this summer.

The Welsh international has long been linked to United as they are keen on securing his services. Bale has also been on the radar of the Red Devils' league rivals Chelsea and Manchester City are also in the hunt for landing the 25-year-old.

Nicholas claims the former Tottenham Hotspur star will be interested in returning to the Premier League. He believes securing Bale's signature will help United make an impact when they return to the Champions League.

"If you want to make a serious statement, then you need to throw everything at getting Gareth Bale," Nicholas told Sky Sports.

"He's the sort of player that can create a massive excitement and help United make an immediate impact when they return to the Champions League. I think Bale would be open to returning to the Premier League, even if he wouldn't say it."

"United can say to him, 'you've been successful in Spain winning the Champions League, but after your ups and downs, you can come here and be our [Cristiano] Ronaldo, rather than playing second fiddle'."

United keeper David De Gea is likely to leave Old Trafford as he is yet to sign a contract extension with his current employers. Van Gaal has already confirmed the 20-time English champions have offered a "lot of money" to sign a new deal.

De Gea has been a transfer target for Real and he could be used a bait in helping United land Bale this summer. Nicholas believes the Dutchman should replace De Gea with Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.

The Czech Republican has seen his first team appearances being limited after the return of Thibaut Courtois to Stamford Bridge. He has been linked with a move to Arsenal, but Nicholas says Van Gaal should sign Cech if De Gea leaves United this summer.

"If David de Gea leaves for Real Madrid, then you go out and get Petr Cech, if Chelsea are willing to sell to a rival club that is," the former Gunners man said.

"He's the sort of player that can come in and provide the sort of presence which will make the defence feel settled."