Is Madrid finally setting the stage for Bale's arrival?
Real Madrid's quest to land Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale for a world record fee looks to be nearing its conclusion with Spanish media reporting on Thursday a deal is all but secured.
The nine-times European champions have a reputation for getting their man and sports daily Marca were sourcing radio station Cadena COPE when they said a deal had been agreed and would be confirmed on Friday for 99 million euros (£85 million).
Real's signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in 2009 set the world record transfer fee at some 96 million euros.
Image: Santiago Bernabeu stadium
Bale could be seen in No. 11 shirt
Even if the deal for the Welsh international is not confirmed by the weekend, all the indications are that the player will be running out at the Bernabeu this season in the currently vacant number 11 shirt.
The 24-year-old has been ruled out of action for the opening matches of Tottenham's season as he has suffered a couple of niggling injuries, though media speculation has suggested it is part of a tactic to force through the move.
His current club have been busy in the transfer market, landing Spain striker Roberto Soldado from Valencia for a club record 30 million euros and are reportedly close to exceeding that figure with a move for Brazilian forward Willian from Anzhi Makhachkala.
The transfer window shuts in England on September 2.
Image: Gareth Bale
Photographs: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images