Manchester United and Tottenham are likely to find out next week whether their hopes of bringing Gareth Bale back to England are alive.
Bale is due back for the start of pre-season training at Real Madrid next Monday morning and his first stop is likely to be a conversation with new coach Julen Lopetegui.
AS have reported that Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus had made Bale have a rethink about his Real future and cancel talks with the Champions League winners.
With Ronaldo’s deal to Serie A all signed off, the talk that Bale’s issues at the Bernabeu had disappeared are reportedly wide of the mark.
Bale’s agent has told ESPN his man is still set for talks with Lopetegui, as he seeks assurances about his game time.
Barnett apparently said the report was “wrong” and Bale will “speak to the new coach (Lopetegui) and we will go from there.”
Bale, who came off the bench to win the Champions League for Real against Liverpool, said he was gutted to not start the showpiece in the Ukraine.
“I was very disappointed not to start the game,” said Bale in May.
“I felt like I deserved it but the manager makes the decisions and what can you do? The best I’ve been doing is to come on and make an impact, and I did.”
And Spanish-based journalist Eduardo Inda has told sports programme El Chiringuito that Jose Mourinho has promised the Welshman he can win the Ballon d’Or at Old Trafford.
ESPN also believe Manchester United will push hard to sign Bale if Florentino Perez and Lopetegui decide to cash in on the player.
While last month, Don Balon claimed Perez had met with Barnett to persuade them to accept a return to Spurs this summer with Denmark star Christian Eriksen possibly going in the other direction.
One thing that is not in doubt is that Bale wants to play more at the Bernabeu.
Barnett told Sky Sports News last month: “I think he is in the top three or four players on earth, so for somebody like him, he wants to play.
“It’s not about money and not about anything else. He wants to play and wants to win the Ballon d’Or, and I think he is capable of doing it.
“I think we have to have a chat with Real Madrid and see where we are going. Obviously he wants a better year than he had last year. He wants to play more, and that’s paramount to him.”
Bale, 28, is under contract at the Bernabeu until the end of the 2021-22 season, having signed a six-year deal in October 2016.