Roberto Mancini may have stated earlier in the week that he did not believe that Gareth Bale would “leave a big team like Tottenham”, but reports from Spain suggest that the winger is closing in on a summer switch to Barcelona.
Barcelona have been long-time admirers of the Welshman, almost since his memorable hat-trick in last season’s Champions League draw in the San Siro with Inter Milan.
However, Pep Guardiola failed in any of his efforts to push the deal through, instead focusing on securing the signature of Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal.
New manager Tito Vilanova has made signing a new left-back his leading priority and has allegedly agreed a €40m deal with Harry Redknapp for Bale.
This does seem slightly on the cheap given that Tottenham refused to sell Luka Modric for any less than £40m last summer and logic would suggest that Bale would demand a higher transfer sum than his fellow midfielder.
But the sum is believable and Bale himself would earn €5m a year after tax for agreeing to move to Spain.
The right side has typically been the focal point of Barcelona’s attack in recent years, with Dani Alves constantly marauding up and down the flank.
But with the Brazilian having marriage issues, there is a strong possibility that he is on the brink of leaving the Nou Camp and Vilanova is interesting in changing focus to the other side of the pitch.
Bale would fit this style perfectly, although Vilanova is keeping his options open and is also considering Valencia’s Jordi Alba, who has a minimum fee release clause of €25m and just a year remaining on his current contract.
Barcelona could additionally do with more options at left back to cover Eric Abidal’s recovery after undergoing liver transplant surgery last month.