Real Madrid are expected to continue their pursuit of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba in January - and a report has now claimed that Los Blancos are confident of using Gareth Bale as leverage to convince United to sell.
Real were desperate to sign Pogba during the summer, with manager Zinedine Zidane understood to be a huge fan of the midfielder. That interest is a lot more concrete than United's desire to sign Bale, who has not been convincingly linked with the Red Devils for years.
As the story goes, Real remain desperate to sign Pogba, and they are hoping to use United's so-called interest in Bale to sweeten the deal. Los Blancos supposedly believe that Bale will be a United player by the end of 2020, whether he seals the move in January or in the summer.
While Bale would certainly be that high-profile addition which United are looking for, he could hardly be further from the kind of signing which United want to make.
The Red Devils have prioritised signing young players who could star for the club for the next decade, so bringing in a 30-year-old winger with a long history of injury struggles certainly does not seem to be in their plans - especially when you consider the cost of the deal.
Bale earns around £650,000 per week at Santiago Bernabéu, and United would be extremely hesitant to offer Bale anything close to that figure, having seen the overwhelming negative fallout from shattering their wage structure to sign Alexis Sánchez in January 2018.
90min understands that United are confident of being able to sign Borussia Dortmund starlet Jadon Sancho next summer, and signing Bale would only ever get in the way of that deal.
United don't even want to sell Pogba to Real in the first place, so very little in this story looks to add up.
What appears true is that Bale does want to leave Real. A series of clashes with Zidane is understood to have left Bale desperate to seal a move away, but his next home will almost certainly not be Old Trafford.