Bale remained on course to seal an £86 million move from Tottenham Hotspur to the Bernabeu after returning to London from Spain to await the green light to travel back to Madrid and sign a six-year £8.5 million a-year contract.

He and Real were confident of being given the all clear despite sources at White Hart Lane on Monday denying an agreement had already been struck between the clubs.

Even more dramatic were claims a rival bid was being considered despite Bale’s heart being set on Real.

It was unclear from where such an offer would have emerged with Paris St Germain — and possibly Manchester United — the only clubs linked to the player with the financial muscle to compete with Real’s record-breaking bid.

United quickly distanced themselves from any suggestion they might be trying to hijack the deal while PSG did not respond to requests for comment.

Manchester City also possess the clout to meet the asking price of Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy but like United they insisted they had made no such move.

Former Spurs star Gary Lineker was among those to express scepticism over claims of a second bidder posting on Twitter: “Always the possibility of the deal falling through medical etc. But go to another club? I suspect Mr Levy may be playing games.”

News of a tug-of-war for Bale’s services would arguably benefit Spurs as they and Real put the finishing touches to the transfer of the 24-year-old who is still expected to be formally unveiled in a grand ceremony at the Bernabeu potentially within the next 24 hours.
Levy is renowned for driving a hard bargain especially when he feels he has little choice but to sell a player he wants to keep.
His decision to travel to Madrid for face-to-face talks with Real president Florentino Perez was seen as a tactic designed to get the highest possible fee for Bale.

Despite reaching an agreement in principle there were still concerns at Tottenham yesterday over the precise schedule of payments which will be made in three stages.

They have offered Real the carrot of receiving a significant discount on the total fee if they meet those payments early but have also insisted upon punitive clauses if the Spaniards are late.