Date: 17th January 2007 at 12:34pm
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Southampton’s 18-year-old Welsh full-back Gareth Bale will sign for Manchester United at the end of January, according to a leading tabloid.

This particular paper (only my uncanny knack for mystery prevents me naming it as The Guardian) claims a deal is 90% certain now but the fee will be a bit more than the £5.5m the Reds were initially willing to pay. The final deal will involve a basic fee that could increase subject to the players’ appearances and performances as well as other specific causes.

The speculation goes as far as saying Bale will spend the remainder of the season at Southampton on loan. For this reason, he will sign only at the end of the month, as if he joins United he will not be able to play for Southampton while the transfer window is open.

This deal means United will have a plethora of left-sided defenders come next season: Gabriel Heinze, John O’Shea, Mikael Silvestre, Patrice Evra and Gareth Bale. We’d be envied by Spurs, certainly, no wonder they are believed to be after Gabriel Heinze. Martin Jol is prepared to pay £5m for our tough left-back who recently declared it would be United’s decision to let him go or keep him at Old Trafford.

So, that’s all. Bale held talks with Southampton officials after Saturday’s game and it really seems to be a done deal so we’ll have to sell at least one of our left-sided players. I’d still vote for Silvestre but in reality, Heinze is an absolutely class act, he just can’t sit on the bench…