The difference this year is that the story is not emulating from Manchester. This one is coming from Madrid after Zinedine Zidane said he may not be able to keep Gareth Bale at Madrid.
Bale’s future at the Bernabeu is in doubt once again as the European champions try to complete a world record £160million deal for Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe.
It’s understood that Real boss Zidane may have to sacrifice Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema or Bale to make room for Mbappe — with the Welshman favourite to go.
Zidane was asked about the situation after Madrid’s 4-1 defeat by Manchester City in Los Angeles and replied:
‘I hope the BBC (Bale, Benzema and Cristiano) stay for this season. I hope everyone remains. I want everyone who is here to stay, but anything can happen right up until August 31.’
Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to sign a new wide player this summer and has targeted Inter Milan’s £48m-rated winger Ivan Perisic.
Mourinho fuelled speculation when United played Real in Santa Clara last weekend after he embraced Bale before the game and was overheard saying:
‘I can’t buy you because you don’t talk to me!’
The 28-year-old Bale insisted after the game that he is happy in Madrid, but Mbappe’s arrival could force his hand.
If Mbappe arrives in Madrid for a world record fee, as is widely expected, he is not moving to Spain to sit on the bench.
With Cristiano Ronaldo still undroppable, that leaves Bale and Karim Benzema to fight for the third attacking role. And with news that Benzema is set to sign a new five-year contract with Madrid, the writing is on the wall that Real Madrid will look to move Bale this summer.