Report: Manchester United maintains Bale interest despite injury issues

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GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP / Getty

Manchester United is apparently undeterred by Gareth Bale's lengthy injury record and believes it can tend to those issues if a transfer is completed for the Welshman.

The 28-year-old has sat out 40 of Real Madrid's last 60 matches due to a raft of problems, including several calf complaints, but the Guardian's Jamie Jackson believes Jose Mourinho remains keen on the forward. A bid isn't expected to be lodged during the January transfer window, but an offer could be submitted next summer.

Bale's latest setback is a thigh ailment, his 19th injury since his then-world-record £85-million switch to the Bernabeu from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013. It's his stint with Spurs that encourages United his fitness can improve - Bale featured 144 times over three seasons for the north London outfit before heading to the Iberian peninsula.

In the 2016-17 campaign, Bale appeared in half of Real Madrid's league encounters, and was unable to start in May's Champions League final.

In addition to his injuries, Bale saw his minutes begin to dwindle in the Spanish capital following last season's change of formation by Zinedine Zidane. Rather than continuing a long-running trend of fielding an attacking triumvirate, the French manager began to shape a midfield diamond similar to the one he spearheaded during his playing days with Real Madrid. Unfortunately for Bale, Isco installed himself as the favourite in the Zidane-esque role, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are the first-choice frontmen.

Bale's release clause at Real Madrid is understood to stand at an enormous £890 million (€1 billion), but the reigning Spanish and European champion would entertain offers much lower than that amount if Bale was afforded the opportunity to return to the Premier League.