United after Bale

MANCHESTER UNITED want to sign Gareth Bale from Real Madrid and are not put off by the forward’s injury problems because they believe they would be able to improve his condition.

Bale has missed 40 of Real’s last 60 matches because of injury. He has not played since late September and is expected to be out for a further month and a half after suffering a thigh problem last week when he was nearing a return from calf trouble.

That was the Wales international’s 19th injury since he joined Real in September 2013 for a then world record £85m but it is understood this is not a concern for United. José Mourinho has previously tried to bring Bale to Old Trafford and remains keen to do so, though any bid is expected next summer rather than in January.

United are encouraged by Bale’s better appearance record when at Tottenham Hotspur and believe they could return him to a similar level of games. He played 52 matches in the season before his move to Madrid, 48 the campaign before and 44 in 2010-11. Bale earns about £350,000 a week after tax and is contracted until 2022. He has a €1 billion (£890 million) buyout clause but given his injury issues Real would demand considerably less if they wanted to sell him.

Meanwhile, José Mourinho has made clear his frustration at the England setup’s handling of Phil Jones after revealing the defender had been given six local anaesthetic injections in his thigh before last week’s friendly against Germany.

“With Phil Jones the strange thing is that I have been a manager since 2000 and, in 17 years as a manager, I don’t have one single player that had injections of anaesthetic to play a friendly,” said Mourinho. — Guardian.

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