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Many Manchester United supporters are down in the doldrums, but Harry Redknapp believes Louis van Gaal can still win the Premier League this season if he signs Gareth Bale.
The Wales forward, who used to play under Redknapp at Tottenham, scored a stunning hat-trick in Zinedine Zidane's first match in charge of Real Madrid against Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday night.
While the Welshman was thrilling the crowd at the Bernabeu, 900 miles away in Manchester Van Gaal's team were serving up their latest drab offering - this time against League One side Sheffield United in the FA Cup.
For the 10th successive home game, United failed to score by half-time. It looked like they were heading for an eighth goalless stalemate of the season but luckily for Van Gaal, Memphis Depay was tripped in the box in injury time and Wayne Rooney fired home from the penalty spot.
While Sheffield United put on an organised and disciplined rearguard action, it must not be forgotten that they conceded three goals against Peterborough last weekend and have been beaten by Bury, Colchester and Crewe this season.
United fans are becoming tired of the boring, predictable football on show at Old Trafford this season. Redknapp believes Bale can provide them with the attacking flair and penetration they so desperately need.
"Gareth Bale is in the top four or five players in the world," Redknapp told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme.
"He is an amazing talent. If Manchester United took him they could come close to winning the title this year. He can make that much difference.
"Bale is a match-winner. He scores goals and he can make goals. He could go and get them 16 goals or 17 goals from now until the end of the season if he went on a run and he could turn the club around. He would be an incredible signing."
United tried to buy Bale, who has scored 12 league goals for Madrid this season, just before he left for the Spanish capital and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward would not be able to resist the temptation to bid for the Welshman again if he intimated he wanted to return to England.
The spirits of the United fans certainly need lifting. They booed their team off at half-time and ironically cheered when Matteo Darmian registered United's first shot on target in the 69th minute.
There were also boos for Marouane Fellaini when he came off and unlike in recent weeks, only a handful of United fans waited around to get Van Gaal's autograph outside Old Trafford after the match.
The United manager conceded his team's performance was not good enough, but stressed that making it through to the fourth round was the most important thing.
And Marouane Fellaini agreed with his manager's assessment.
"Always in the Premier League and against lower league teams, the games are tough," the United midfielder told MUTV.
"There are often surprises, like you can see in some other games, but we are in the next round and we are happy.
"The FA Cup is a big competition in England and we went to the quarter-final last season. We want to do better this season and we have the quality and the players, so I hope we can do that."
United received another blow on Saturday with the news that Bastian Schweinsteiger will miss Tuesday's game against Newcastle because of an injury he suffered at the end of the third-round tie.
"It shall be difficult of course (for Schweinsteiger to face Newcastle)," the United manager said
"I think he has a knee problem."
Nigel Adkins was happy with his team's efforts, and the support they received from the 8,500 fans who had crossed the Pennines for the match.
But the Sheffield United boss wants his players to regain their focus quickly as they attempt to push for the League One play-offs.
"I think we need to take the positives from this," he said.
"It was a good effort. It was a shame we didn't see it out and get a replay at Bramall Lane, but we have to move on and think about Tuesday's game at Wigan."
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