Manchester United will be “waiting on the other side” for Gareth Bale if the Wales star is unwanted by Real Madrid, according to manager Jose Mourinho.
United face Madrid in Skopje in the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday and the pre-match build-up has been played out against mounting speculation over Bale’s future.
Bale would be a massive coup for United who are still rebuilding their squad and the Red Devils will come face to face with Real on Tuesday night.
Mourinho made no attempt to hide his interest in Bale, but his transfer plans seem to rest on whether the 28-year-old starts for his side in the Super Cup final.
A report by Spanish publication Don Balon claimed the 28-year-old forward was ready to consider a move to Old Trafford in the event of Madrid attempting to move on a star name to facilitate the signing of Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe.
Mourinho does not view this as a likely turn of events but told a pre-match news conference he will have a keen eye on the Madrid teamsheet in the Macedonian capital.
“Well if he’s playing tomorrow, no I wouldn’t think of [signing Bale] because it would show he’s in the coach’s plans and the club’s plans and he also has that motivation to continue at Real Madrid,” he said.
“If he is not in the club’s plans, that the arrival of another player would mean he was on his way out, I will try to be waiting for him on the other side and fight with other coaches that would want him on their team.
“But if he plays tomorrow, that is the best confirmation that he is still wanted by the team.”
Mourinho has already added Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic to a squad that won the EFL Cup and Europa League last season but finished a disappointing sixth in the Premier League.
Bale was the world’s most expensive player when he joined Madrid in 2013 and scored the winning goal in the Copa del Rey final that season before winning the first of three Champions League titles.
Despite being hindered by calf and ankle injuries, the former Tottenham winger scored seven goals in 17 LaLiga starts last term as Madrid claimed the Spanish title for the first time since 2011-12.