Manchester United are reportedly ready to hijack Real Madrid's move for Gareth Bale and make the Tottenham Hotspur winger their marquee signing of the summer.
The Spanish giants have been locked in negotiations with Spurs all summer for the Welshman's services. However, both sides have still not reached an agreement, despite a world record transfer fee of around £85m being mentioned in the press for over a month.
United's attempts to land a talismanic midfielder this summer have failed so far, with Thiago Alcantara joining Bayern Munich and top target Cesc Fabregas determined to continue at Barcelona. And, according to The Independent and the Daily Mail, the Red Devils could now provide competition to Madrid in their pursuit of Bale.
It is understood the Meringues' current stance on the Bale transfer is that they are only willing make the payment in installments, spread payments a few years, much to the frustration of Spurs. Meanwhile, though United also have no intention of meeting Tottenham's valuation for the 24-year-old, the Premier League champions might pay up straightaway and be willing to throw some of their few fringe players in any potential deal.
David Moyes is under pressure to make a big signing, especially with the unsettled Wayne Rooney strongly linked with a transfer away from United. Though a much-hyped, big-money move to bring back Cristiano Ronaldo to Old Trafford failed to materialise, it proved the Red Devils have the funds to pull off a massive deal this summer.
Bale appears to have his heart set on a move to the Bernabeu but the player might not need much of persuasion to sign for United. After all, a switch to Old Trafford would tick a lot of boxes, including Champions League action, title challenge and a significant pay rise.
Tottenham selling their best player to domestic rivals United would also not be an impossible scenario, as it has already happened twice in recent years; Michael Carrick in 2006 for £18.6 m and Dimitar Berbatov in 2008 £30m. The Independent also claims in case a player-plus-cash deal is mooted, Andre Villas-Boas would want Chicharito in exchange.