Manchester United’s pursuit of Gareth Bale has often been based more on hope than expectation. The former Tottenham Hotspur winger has frequently been a target for the Premier League giants, but chose Real Madrid when he left English football in 2013, and hasn’t looked back since. Four Champions League and one La Liga titles have followed, whilst United have struggled to adapt to life after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in the same year. Still, the club have maintained an interest in the Welshman, and after his public declaration regarding his future in May of this year, United’s interest was piqued once again.
However, the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from the Bernabeu has drastically reduced the chances that the Spanish club will either allow Bale to leave, or that the player himself will want to do so, given that the Portuguese was his biggest obstacle to securing a position in the starting XI again. As such, any lingering interest in Bale is likely to amount to nothing, from United’s perspective.
That hasn’t stopped Jose Mourinho from targeting another of Real’s most important players, however. The Daily Express, citing a report in Spanish publication AS, are suggesting that United have turned their attention to Toni Kroos instead, yet the possibility of securing the German international’s services seems exceptionally slim. To begin with, the former Bayern Munich midfielder has a €500m release clause, and even if the player wanted to complete a transfer to England, it’s likely that Real wouldn’t allow it, having already sold a key part of their side in the form of Ronaldo this summer.
The centre of midfield is arguably an area of the pitch that doesn’t need further strengthening this summer, either. United currently have Fred, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera in terms of senior options, whilst the likes of Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira are pushing for a place in Mourinho’s plans this coming season. It’s not unlikely that the club are considering alternatives with Bale likely to be staying put, but it’s hugely unlikely that Kroos will be the man to be brought in.