Tottenham chief executive Daniel Levy has already rejected an offer in excess of £80 million, but Madrid could yet break the world record for a transfer fee for a fifth time this century.
The Mail say Spurs want £85m and a player, which is where Angel di María figures. A left-winger, he is a significant downgrade on Bale not only because he is an out-and-out winger, but because he is so erratic.
Di María joined Madrid in 2010 but the arrival of Bale would reduce him to a substitute-at-best. The signings of Isco and Asier Illarramendi suggest Carlo Ancelotti could tweak Madrid's formation in midfield, to Di María's detriment, as well. Either way, the future is bleak for the Argentinian at the Santiago Bernabéu.
The Mirror, meanwhile, have done their best to wind up Manchester United fans baffled by David Moyes' inability to either buy or sell players this summer.
United "are also keen" on Bale (who isn't?) as they bid to placate impatient supporters pessimistic about the chances of Cesc Fàbregas arriving at Old Trafford.
Bale rejected United in 2007, concerned at the stack of left-wingers in the Old Trafford squad.
André Villas-Boas, who has struggled to hide his boredom at the Bale questions in Asia, just wants a big fee so he can reinforce Spurs' squad post-Bale, say the Star.
The Guardian opt for the "crunch talks" headline to emphasise the gravity of the situation.
Bale's representatives hope to meet Levy this week to stress their client's desire to move to Real Madrid this summer, with the stand-off between player and club threatening to turn acrimonious.