By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Manchester United have been given fresh hope in their pursuit of Gareth Bale by claims from Harry Redknapp that the player’s camp are driving a move back to the Premier League.

The Premier League champions and rivals Chelsea regard Real Madrid’s axing of Rafael Benitez as an encouraging sign in the battle to pull off a record-breaking deal for Bale.

As revealed by Football Insider, United made an astonishing £120million bid for Bale last summer after Louis van Gaal identified him as a player who could electrify Old Trafford.

At the time, Real did not want to sell Bale even though the offer was £34million more than the sum that smashed the world transfer record when he was bought from Tottenham in the summer of 2013.

Ex-Tottenham boss Redknapp, who was instrumental in Bale’s rise from left-back to one of the world’s most exciting attacking players, believes the Welshman could head to Old Trafford during this transfer window.

Writing in his column for the London Evening Standard, Redknapp said: “Gareth Bale leaving Real Madrid for Manchester United could happen. I just get a feeling that somebody over here is driving that move.

“It keeps coming up and it wouldn’t surprise me, given he’s never truly settled there and can’t speak the language very well.

“I don’t know if he will come back, but the United move makes a lot of sense, and all that talk has to be coming from somewhere.”

Hot pursuit: Louis van Gaal is an admirer of Bale

Hot pursuit: Louis van Gaal is an admirer of Bale

Bale has performed impressively in his third season at the Bernabeu, scoring nine league goals and supplying seven assists, the equal-most in the competition this season.

Redknapp is in no doubt about what a difference the Welshman could make at Old Trafford.

“If he went to United this month, they would suddenly have a realistic chance of winning the title because he could go there and score 15 goals in the second half of the season,” wrote the former Tottenham manager. “There aren’t many players in the world who can have that kind of impact, but Gareth is one of them.”