Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed he will pursue Gareth Bale in the remaining weeks of the transfer window if the Welshman is not Zinedine Zidane’s plans at Real Madrid next season.
Bale has travelled to Skopje with the European champions ahead of the UEFA Super Cup against United on Tuesday.
He has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, with Real Madrid reportedly keen to sign Monaco teenager Kylian Mbappe to fill his role.
And Mourinho, who has targeted another attacking player this summer, said Zidane’s teamsheet for the game at the Philip II Arena on Tuesday night will hint at his plans for Bale next season, and whether the 28-year-old could become available.
Mourinho told a news conference:
“Well if [Bale is] playing tomorrow, no I wouldn’t think of that, it’s because he’s in the coach’s plans and the club’s plans, because he also has that motivation to continue at Real Madrid.
So I haven’t even thought about the possibility. “If he is not in the club’s plans, that — with 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, that is the best confirmation that he is wanted by the team.”
Earlier on Monday, Bale was named in Madrid’s 24-man squad for the game alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, newly returned to training after missing the club’s preseason tour.
United have also been linked with Croatian winger Ivan Perisic but the speculation has cooled with Inter Milan holding firm in their £48.5 million valuation.
Mourinho also confirmed he will be without Phil Jones in Skopje after UEFA upheld the defender’s two-match ban for verbally abusing a doping control officer following the Europa League final.
Eric Bailly is also suspended.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah has not travelled with sources saying the Dutchman is on the verge of joining Crystal Palace on loan for a season.
“With Phil Jones I was expecting that the appeal would be negative. The only thing I hope is that, the team that wins, if some player wants to celebrate, I hope the doping committee sends somebody with him and doesn’t close him in a room.
“No Phil Jones, no Eric Bailly. No Timo Fosu-Mensah because in this moment he is probably going on loan to another club so we make a decision that he doesn’t travel.”