Manchester United have been watching Gareth Bale ever since the Wales international joined Tottenham Hotspur in 2007, but little did anyone know he would become one of the world’s best footballers.
Had Sir Alex Ferguson known, you can be sure his efforts to sign Bale from Southampton would have been upped, but now United will need to lodge a bid containing a significant amount of money in order to lure him away from Champions League winners Real Madrid.
Ever since his move to Los Blancos, United have been linked with Bale. This week Spanish newspaper As report that José Mourinho is ready to make his move for the 28-year-old, while Goal.com claim that Madrid will look to offload the former Spurs man to Old Trafford in order to fund their world-record £160million bid for Kylian Mbappé.
The bookies may begin to splash odds on such a transfer happening, so why not take up a couple of free football bets while the offer is going? Bale didn’t have the best of seasons last year due to constant injuries, yet Madrid went on to win the double under manager and club legend Zinedine Zidane.
United have been negotiating with Inter Milan all summer to sign Croation winger Ivan Perisic, but fans would without question prefer Bale. Not only is he proven in the Premier League, he's also done in on the world stage for both club and country.
Given how Mourinho likes to set his teams up, his wingers are expected to carry out defensive duties as well as attack. Bale started his career as a left back, therefore, is aware of the responsibilities he would need to take under the Portuguese boss.
However, injuries are a real concern for Bale and his future as a top footballer. At 28 it is unlikely that the injury issues will ease off, and he has never played over 50 games in a single season before. That will come as a surprise to many considering last year, Paul Pogba made a total of 51 appearances for United.
More worryingly, though, injuries have limited him to just 31 and 27 appearances in 2015/16 and 2016/17 respectively.
Mourinho has admitted that he is keen to bolster his attack with a player who can operate in the wide positions. Bale can offer that and after removing Wayne Rooney from the wage bill there's plenty of room for another marque signing at Old Trafford this summer.
Two years ago, if given the chance, signing Bale would have been a no-brainer for United. It's funny how things change.