The real mega-transfer saga of the summer has kicked off, with Gareth Bale about to be involved in the biggest bidding war that European football has witnessed for years.
And despite White Hart Lane boss Andre Villas-Boas strenuously denying that Bale would be sold, the news from Madrid is now set to spark a tussle between Real and Manchester United for the 24-year-old star.
While United seem intent on landing Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, it is understood that the Old Trafford club have been waiting for Real to make the first move for Bale (pictured) and, once the player becomes unsettled and tells Spurs that he wants out, David Moyes will make his move.
And as well as offering a huge transfer fee to Tottenham and a bumper wage packet to the player, United will then rely on Bale's apparent desire to stay in England, rather than move to Spain, to land their man.
Villas-Boas said: "On Gareth I want to repeat what I said last season; he's one of the most fantastic players in the world and we are counting on him for the future."