Man Utd need Champions League to get Bale, says Cole

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The Red Devils continue to be heavily linked with the Real Madrid star, but the former striker believes a deal will rest on elite European competition

Manchester United will need Champions League football if they are to stand any chance of luring Gareth Bale away from Real Madrid, says Andy Cole.

Attention at Old Trafford will soon switch towards the summer transfer window, with the Red Devils having already got one notable deal over the line.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed as the club’s new permanent manager on a three-year contract, and calls for him to be given funds with which to strengthen his squad have already been sounded.

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Wales international Bale is among those said to figure prominently on the Old Trafford wish list, with the 29-year-old former Tottenham star enduring a testing time in Spain.

Cole admits a proven performer would be a welcome addition to the United ranks, but believes a top-four finish or European triumph would be required in order for Solskjaer to secure the Welshman.

The former Red Devils striker said of the Bale rumours: "I think Manchester United should be going for all top players of that calibre. That's what Manchester United is about.

"Do those players want to come to Manchester United? That's the question.

"If Manchester United miss out on Champions League football... top players want to play Champions League football.

"When you are playing at that elite level, it's not all about money. People think it's all about money, but you speak to players at elite level.

"Do you want to play Champions League football or do you want a few more quid? They will say Champions League, because they want to win it - it's a special competition.

"So if Manchester United miss out on Champions League football, it becomes difficult for them to attract players. It can be tough."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd

Cole believes a top-four finish should be the minimum requirement for United in this and any other season, with the club needing to ensure that their sights continue to be set higher than merely qualifying for elite continental competition.

A man who helped to deliver European glory as part of an historic Treble in 1999 added: "Manchester United should qualify for the top four season in, season out.

"It's not about competing for top four, it's about competing for the Premier League title. It is as simple as that.

"Sometimes we overlook that scenario when we think finishing in the top four is like winning a trophy.

"For Manchester United it shouldn't be like winning a trophy. To win a trophy, you have to finish top."

United sit fifth in the Premier League table at present, two points behind Arsenal heading into the resumption of domestic action with a home date against Watford on Saturday.

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