Bale’s return to Spurs ‘getting there’

Bale’s return to Spurs ‘getting there’

MADRID • Gareth Bale’s move back to Tottenham Hotspur from Real Madrid will be completed this week, the player’s agent Jonathan Barnett told AFP yesterday.

The final details of a complicated deal are now being finalised by Madrid and Spurs, with Bale expected to seal a return to the club he left for a world-record €100 million (S$160.5 million) in 2013.

“We’re getting there,” Barnett told AFP. “I think it will be completed this week.”

Madrid have been pushing for a permanent transfer for Bale in the hope of being rid of his salary, worth around €30 million a year.

But Tottenham are expected initially to take him on loan as part of a package that includes them paying around half of his wages, as well as some added fees depending on the Welshman’s performances.

That would mean the total deal could cost Spurs around €20 million for the season.

Bale has scored 105 goals and made 68 assists in 251 games for Real Madrid while winning four Champions League titles and two in La Liga.

But despite some dazzling moments, his early years in Spain were disrupted by injuries while his role has been significantly reduced in recent seasons under Zinedine Zidane.

Common themes among Bale’s critics are that he did not show the same commitment to the club as for Wales, and that he did not aspire to be the team’s leader after Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2018.

A naturally shy character who rarely gave interviews or spoke Spanish in public, he never ingratiated himself to Madrid supporters, who have idolised larger-than-life figures such as the late Juanito and current captain Sergio Ramos.

In a somewhat absurd interpretation of the facts, Bale’s fondness for playing golf in his spare time was taken as a sign he was not 100 per cent committed to playing football, while he was also often blamed for his frequent injuries.

He did not always help himself though, from dancing with a fan’s banner which celebrated his love for Wales and golf over Madrid last year, to looking bored and lethargic as he sat on the substitutes’ bench for the final matches of last season.

The 31-year-old will join Jose Mourinho at Spurs, who reiterated on Wednesday that he tried to sign the forward while he was in charge of Real Madrid.

“I tried to sign him during my time at Real Madrid and the president followed my instinct and knowledge and the season I left, he brought Gareth to the club,” Mourinho said. “That’s no secret and Gareth knows that.”

Tottenham are also close to completing the signing of Real left-back Sergio Reguilon for around €30 million. He enjoyed an excellent 2018-19 season for Madrid but Zidane sent the 23-year-old on loan last year to Sevilla, where he helped them finish fourth in La Liga and win the Europa League.