According to reports from the Birmingham Mail, Manchester United are set to finally bring Gareth Bale back to the Premier League this summer and bring the Real Madrid flier to Old Trafford.
The Welshman, valued at £63m by Transfermarkt, left these shores in 2013, winning 1 La Liga and 3 Champions League titles – with the prospect of a fourth this season – at the Bernabeu.
His talent and star quality is obvious. He would be yet another “X Factor” signing made by Jose Mourinho’s men but does that automatically make him a good fit?
Football FanCast take a closer look at the potential consequences – from a United point of view – if Bale did pitch up on the red half of Manchester this summer…
Both Martial and Marcus Rashford are not seeing as much gametime as they might like at Old Trafford and the January arrival of Alexis Sanchez has shunted both men even further down the pecking order.
But while Rashford appears content with the situation at his boyhood club, Martial’s attitude is reportedly failing to impress Mourinho and that makes him the man who currently looks as if he is closer to the exit door as it stands.
Martial is an incredibly talented player but Mourinho appears to prefer Rashford and Bale’s arrival would further limit the opportunities the Frenchman gets to play.
Bale would likely want to operate from the right and that’s where Mata is usually fielded. The Spaniard’s transformation from prolific number 10 to right winger has been overseen by Mourinho but it doesn’t appear to be a comfortable fit.
Either way, Bale could come inside and deliver crosses and shots but also offer much more explosiveness than Mata can muster, which would be bad news for the former Valencia playmaker.
He may not force an exit from the club in the same way Martial may look to, but with Jesse Lingard also seemingly preferred, Mata could be marginalised if Bale arrived.
It would suit their superstar players and the added explosiveness of Bale would encourage Mourinho that he could sit back and counter but also dominate sides with the 4-3-3 he first brought to the Premier League way back in 2004.
Alexis and Bale either side of Lukaku with Paul Pogba racing forward to help out. It sounds like a wonderful combination on paper and a tactical solution that would allow Mourinho to get the best of his star men.
The penchant for the 4-2-3-1 may well become a thing of the past.