Manchester United's chances of signing long-term target Gareth Bale this summer appear to have taken a major hit after reported positive talks between the Welsh superstar and new Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui.
It had been rumoured that United were in 'advanced talks' over a possible deal to sign Bale that would have left the decision as to whether a proposed move went ahead with the player himself.
Bale, who took the opportunity following his decisive role in last season's Champions League final to express disappointment at often being overlooked by Zinedine Zidane, was then expected to meet the new boss to discuss his future at the Bernabeu.
That meeting will not take place until next week, but a report from The Times claims that Lopetegui has already made up his mind and is set to inform Bale that he is part of his plans in 2018/19.
It therefore looks as though Bale will receive the assurances he is seeking and it is said that Lopetegui will even 'challenge' the 28-year-old to step into the shoes of former superstar colleague and Blancos icon Cristiano Ronaldo after his €100m departure to Juventus.
United have been trying to sign Bale for years. The Old Trafford club were first linked with him when he was still a teenager at Southampton and it has long been established that United actually offered Tottenham more money than Real did when he moved to Spain in 2013.