Manchester United are keeping a close eye on how Gareth Bale adapts to life at Real Madrid with view to a shock move for the Welshman next year.

The Premier League champions were interested in buying Bale in the summer but were left powerless to compete with the £85million world record fee tabled by Spanish giants Madrid.

However, Bale has endured a difficult start to his Real career suffering a series of niggling injuries and coming under increasing scrutiny by the Spanish press for his under-par performances.

The former Tottenham star was hauled off during the second half of Madrid’s defeat to Barcelona on Saturday night and president Florentino Perez is already coming under pressure for sanctioning such a huge fee on a player who is yet to impress the club’s sceptical supporters.

According to a report in one Sunday paper, United are watching the situation closely in the hope that Real may be willing to cut their losses next summer.