Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale is reportedly set for a face-to-face meeting with new Bernabeu coach Julen Lopetegui that could help determine whether he stays put in the Spanish capital or moves on to fresh pastures this summer.
Bale declared after the Champions League final in May, during which he scored twice off the bench to win the game for Los Blancos, that he wants to be playing regularly.
The sudden resignation of former manager Zinedine Zidane appeared to boost his chances, but with Real set to look elsewhere rather than within to replace departed icon Cristiano Ronaldo, the 28-year-old may still not get the assurances he is seeking.
According to Sky Sports, Bale will meet with Lopetegui next week and is 'keen' to know where he will fit in the new coach's plans for the forthcoming season. That will be followed up by talks between his agent and Real president Florentino Perez at some point in the coming fortnight.
This latest update comes shortly after it was claimed that Manchester United are in 'advanced' talks over a possible deal to sign Bale, five years after they tried to beat Real to his signature.
The takeaway from that story was that staying or going will be Bale's decision, with his meeting with Lopetegui therefore a potential pivotal moment. If the player likes what he hears from the new boss, the decision to stay will be easy. But any doubts could lead to him consider an exit.
Sky's report claims that any talks between United and Bale's agent remain informal and that no 'official negotiations' have actually started.
The way that modern transfers work suggests that no 'official negotiations' will begin until one or both clubs is satisfied that a deal is actually viable and worth their time.