GARETH BALE could be a Manchester United player as early as JANUARY.
And if he does not head for Old Trafford in the New Year, Real Madrid are convinced he will do so next summer.
Bale was close to a one-year deal with China’s Jiangsu Suning in the summer — worth £1million a week.
But minutes before the move was confirmed, Real blocked the transfer by demanding a transfer fee.
Sources insist that is because they knew United were keen then — and are even more determined to land a star name to rescue their season now.
Real are willing to let Bale go after a series of negative public comments from manager Zinedine Zidane — and controversy this week.
While Bale has not been fit to play for his club for a month, he was able to join up with Wales for their Euro qualifiers.
Welsh fans stoked the flames by selling flags saying: “Wales. Golf. Real…in that order.”
Sources close to Bale suggest he is ready to call time on his LaLiga career — and Real are prepared to do business.
But they would like to use him as leverage to bring Paul Pogba to the Bernabeu and if United will not do business in January, it may delay a deal until the summer.
Bale has a contract until 2022 on around £650,000 a week — and knows that figure must drop. But he would be a marquee signing offering a huge commercial boost.