Manchester United will allow David de Gea to leave the club this summer but only if Real Madrid agree to swap him with Gareth Bale, reports the Daily Star.
The paper's chief football correspondent, Jeremy Cross, believes Louis van Gaal has elevated Bale to the top of his transfer list this summer. The Dutchman will be given £150 million to spend and wants to dedicate a large chunk of that to a marquee signing.
Bale is still the world's most expensive footballer after joining Real Madrid from Tottenham for £85 million in 2013. While he helped them win the Champions League last season, large sections of the Bernabeu are turning against the Welshman.
Florentino Perez has tried to stop ongoing criticism from fans, but the booing shows no signs of abating. Bale has been accused of lacking discipline and of failing to do his defensive duties for the team. He has also been labelled as selfish by local media.
Unsurprisingly, the unfair criticism is believed to be unsettling Bale and he is ready to consider a return to the Premier League. Manchester United will be the only club capable of funding such a deal and even they will be looking to cut a significant chunk off the transfer fee.
Van Gaal plans to offer De Gea in any deal to bring Bale to Old Trafford. The goalkeeper has been in spectacular form this season but has failed to agree a new contract with the club. With his current deal expiring in 2016, Van Gaal risks losing De Gea for free if he doesn't cash in this summer.
Manchester United would be willing to match Bale's wages, reported to be £300,000-a-week. That would put him on par with Wayne Rooney and ahead of Robin van Persie and Angel di Maria.
Di Maria exit
Bale's arrival would also spell the end for Di Maria, who joined Manchester United in a British record deal last summer. Van Gaal has been less than impressed with the Argentine and would offload him to the highest bidder should he complete a deal for Bale.
It seems like an outlandish rumour, but Manchester United's huge pile of cash would allow them to complete such a deal. While it is easy to dismiss this as sensationalist, Red Devils fans should get used to record transfers. Their club have by far the biggest resources of any club in the world and will stretch their lead further when their deal with adidas and the Premier League's new TV rights deal becomes active.
David de Gea or Gareth Bale? Who would Manchester United fans prefer to see in their squad? Give us your thoughts in the comments box below!