Manchester United told David Moyes yesterday that he can break the British transfer record this summer if he so desires.
The club's American owners are happy to show they mean business by backing the new manager with a 'marquee signing' before the transfer window closes.
Moyes' career as boss at Old Trafford officially began yesterday with a low-key morning in charge of training at the Premier League champions' Carrington ground.
And he left knowing his hands won't be tied if he wants to emulate illustrious predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson, who broke the transfer record several times.
Bale is the more viable option; he wants Champions League football this season but is currently luke-warm to a move abroad at this stage of his career.
Madrid are doing their best to unsettle him, but won't be favourites to get him should he ask to leave White Hart Lane.