Gareth Bale would make Manchester United title contenders - Nicol

Former Liverpool legend-turned-pundit Steve Nicol feels Manchester United would have a realistic chance of challenging for the Premier League title, should they secure the services of Gareth Bale from Real Madrid.

The Wales international has been heavily tipped for an Old Trafford move this summer, despite agent Jonathan Barnett branding the rumours as 'stupid' and 'ridiculous'.

The Welshman had a tough time with niggles last season, and he ended the campaign with just 27 appearances for Real Madrid across all competitions. Speaking to ESPN FC, Nicol insists that Bale would be a much-better signing than Romelu Lukaku due to his ability to score goals at the big stage. The 55-year-old also feels that Lukaku would struggle to hit the ground running at Old Trafford as he has much higher expectations that those at former club Everton.

He said: “I think they’re Premier League contenders, I’m not so sure they would straight away be Champions League contenders but I think certainly with Bale then I think you’re looking at guaranteed goals which is my problem with United’s attack right now. Lukaku scored with Everton. Playing for Everton and playing or Manchester United are two different things.”

While Bale continues to be linked on a daily basis, he is said to be content at the European champions with manager Zinedine Zidane recently admitting that he would want his current squad intact for the new campaign. Meanwhile, Bale had limped out of a recent training session for Los Blancos, and there are indications that he could have suffered a minor injury which could keep him out of the European Super Cup clash against Manchester United next week. Cristiano Ronaldo has just re-joined Los Blancos in pre-season training, and Bale's niggle could see two of Zidane's key performers miss the much-awaited clash in Skopje on Wednesday.