Manchester United are set to step up efforts to bring Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale to the club after being handed a major setback in their pursuit of former player Cristiano Ronaldo, reports the Daily Star.
Earlier today, Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, insisted that the World Player of the Year will remain at the Bernabeu for the rest of his career, which will all but end United's interest in him.
United's interest in the Welsh winger may come as a surprise as he only arrived at the Bernabeu just over one year ago and enjoyed a successful debut campaign in Spain as he helped Real Madrid win the Champions League.
However, the same report has suggested that the former Tottenham ace is unsettled at the club following the arrivals of Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez. In fact, it's been suggested that Real boss Carlo Ancelotti is concerned that Bale is overlooking his defensive responsibilities at the club.
Bale's recent issues, then, could hand Manchester United a boost as they look to bring him back to England. The Welshman won't come cheap, however, with it seemingly unlikely that Madrid would be willing to sell Bale for less than the £85 million that they previously paid for him.
However, with the same report suggesting that money is no option at Old Trafford, it appears that Van Gaal and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward could put together a monster deal in order to try and prize Bale away from Madrid.
Array of attacking talent
And, if Manchester United were able to secure the player's services, then he would be join a number of world-class stars at the Theatre of Dreams.
The Red Devils already have the likes of Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata at their disposal, but they don't seem to be resting on their laurels as they attempt to build a new team under Van Gaal.
Manchester United fans may well be hoping the club invest in their back-line in 2015, but they certainly wouldn't turn down someone of Bale's stature.