By Greg Stobart
Manchester United have made an enquiry for Gareth Bale but have been stunned by Tottenham’s €80 million asking price, Goal.com can reveal.
United chief executive David Gill has approached Spurs chairman Daniel Levy about a deal for Bale, only to be told the 23-year-old would command a near-world record fee if the Londoners were to sell him to a Premier League rival.
Tottenham are instead focussing on talks with Bale's advisors over a new five-year contract worth €175,000-a-week, which would shatter the club’s wage structure. The Welshman has been rewarded for his rise to stardom with new deals in each of the last three years.
As Goal.com revealed last week, Bale has told friends he is ready to reject a big summer move if Spurs clinch a place in the Champions League.
Bale has also attracted interest from Real Madrid, Manchester City and Bayern Munich with his stunning displays this season, having scored 21 goals for Spurs in all competitions.
He has previously expressed an interest in playing abroad and Real Madrid remain favourites to sign him - but they might have to wait until 2014 at the earliest to land their man.
Tottenham are increasingly confident of holding on to Bale for at least one more season and that is reflected in the price quoted to United, with bids below €60m likely to be dismissed out of hand.
Bale was a guest at United’s home defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 earlier this month, but he will not push for a move away from White Hart Lane.
United’s interest in Bale again raises questions over the future of Wayne Rooney, who Sir Alex Ferguson insists will stay at Old Trafford despite reports that the striker could be sold this summer.
The Red Devils appear to be in the market for a marquee signing this summer and have been exploring the possibility of re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.
Ronaldo was sold to the Spanish giants in 2009 for a world record €93m fee but has so far refused to sign a new contract at the Santiago Bernabeu and has refused to rule out a return to Old Trafford.