Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has seemingly confirmed his interest in signing Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale before the end of the summer as the club prepares to meet Los Blancos in the UEFA Super Cup this week.
United have been linked with Bale since the closing weeks of last season, with rumours that he could be forced out of the Bernabeu still persistent despite the player's insistence he is happy.
It was suggested as recently as the end of last week that Real could accept an offer of £90m as they look to make room and raise funds to sign Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe.
Asked about Bale ahead of Tuesday night's game in Macedonia, Mourinho plainly stated that United will be "waiting for him on the other side" should the Welshman have no future at Real.
Mourinho asked about Bale. Says if he plays in the Super Cup he's in Zidane's plans. If not, he will "be waiting for him on the other side."— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) August 7, 2017
In Mourinho's eyes, whether Bale is part of the Real plans for the upcoming campaign will hinge on whether he plays a part for the reigning European champions in the game. The implication is that if the 28-year-old isn't on the pitch, he's up for grabs and United will make their approach.
What this appears to be is an intelligent move from the United boss.
In offering a very specific meaning for his understanding of Bale being in Real's plans he's given the club an easy out if a deal fails to materialise. With Mbappe not yet signed, Bale is more than likely to feature in the game and it will remove pressure and expectation.
At the very least, he is planting a firm seed in the event does not play in Macedonia.
United famously tried to sign Bale in the same summer that he joined Real in 2013. The winger had just enjoyed a stunning campaign for Tottenham and United actually offered Spurs more than the Spanish giants, only for the player to pursue what was described as a dream move.