Manchester United remain in the hunt for a top four place in the Premier League after beating Middlesbrough 3-1 at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho’s men saw fifth place Arsenal lose at West Brom the day earlier, and took full advantage with goals from Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard, and Antonio Valencia sealing a comfortable victory for the Red Devils.
Rudy Gestede’s 77th minute strike gave the hosts hope, but Boro, who sacked Aitor Karanka last week, weren’t able to avoid a third successive Premier League defeat.
For United though, they are now just four points behind Liverpool in fourth after extending their unbeaten league run to 18 matches, and given that they are into the last eight of the Europa League as well, Mourinho’s men have two chances of clinching European football next term.
Nonetheless, despite there still being two months of the season to play, it hasn’t stopped speculation arising about who they could look to sign in the summer, and one name they have been linked with often this season is Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale.
And that is why recent news may be of interest to United fans, as the Welsh international is reportedly unhappy with Cristiano Ronaldo and manager Zinedine Zidane, as the former’s position as the main man at the club appears to be hindering his own game.
Thus, could Bale potentially be tempted to leave the Bernabeu in a bid to be the main man at another club?
If so, United should certainly move for the former Tottenham man, as the 27-year-old is undoubtedly one of the best players in world football.
He made his name at Spurs, scoring 21 Premier League goals in the 2012/13 campaign as well as five in other competitions to help Andre Villas-Boas’ men to fifth place in the division, a point behind North London rivals Arsenal, as well as into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Bale earned his dream move to the Bernabeu that summer, and has since gone from strength to strength, scoring 67 goals in 145 games for the Spanish giants, as well as winning two Champions League titles, with the man himself getting the key goal back in the 2014 final against capital rivals Atletico in extra time.
He has also become the integral figure for Wales, scoring 12 goals in 17 games between 2015 and 2016, including three goals in their sensational run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, as well as five others in qualifying for the tournament.
And it’s this sort of figure which United could be looking at to kick-start the new era under Mourinho.
They have already brought Paul Pogba back to the club in an £89 million deal last summer, but he hasn’t quite hit the heights yet, and if Zlatan Ibrahimovic doesn’t extend his current contract beyond the summer, United would be lacking a top quality, world-class forward to take them to the next level.
But that man could be Bale.
One advantage is that the Welshman already knows what it takes to succeed and perform at a high level in the Premier League, and given that he is a better player now five years after leaving White Hart Lane, it’s frightening how good he could be in the top-flight.
He is one of the best in the world, and has flourished in the Premier League before – he could be the man to take United back to the top of the league, and to the top of Europe.
If he wants to be a talisman, that main man at a massive club, a move to United this summer may be not be as implausible as it seems.