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Bale poised to end Madrid nightmare

China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-18 09:28
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Gareth Bale, pictured celebrating scoring for Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool, is reportedly close to returning to Tottenham Hotspur. REUTERS

Intriguing Mourinho linkup looms as agent says Tottenham reunion 'close'

LONDON/MADRID-Gareth Bale is "close" to sealing a sensational move back to Tottenham, the player's agent, Jonathan Barnett, said on Wednesday, seven years after joining the Spanish giant from Spurs for a world-record fee.

The Wales international has been frozen out by Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and said earlier this month he was open to returning to the English Premier League.

Bale twice won Premier League Players' Player of the Year during his time at Tottenham. He scored 56 goals in 203 appearances for the north London club to persuade Madrid to pay a then world-record 100 million euros (then $132 million) for his services.

When asked about Tottenham's move for Bale, Barnett told AFP:"It's close but not done." He added:"It's a complicated deal."

Bale has two years left on a contract that pays him around 30 million euros a year.

Madrid is pushing for a permanent transfer, while Spurs would prefer an initial season-long loan that would involve the Spanish champion covering a portion of the 31-year-old's wages.

Tottenham is prepared to pay 20 million pounds ($26 million) in wages and loan fees for Bale, according to reports in England.

Bale joined Madrid the summer that Jose Mourinho left the Spanish giant, but the Tottenham manager said he had tried to sign him during his spell as Real boss.

"I tried to sign him during my time at Real Madrid and the president (Florentino Perez) followed my instinct and knowledge and the season I left, he brought Gareth to the club," Mourinho said in a news conference on Wednesday. "That's no secret and Gareth knows that."

Turbulent times

Bale has won the Champions League four times, scoring in the 2014 and 2018 finals, and won two La Liga titles at Madrid, but his time at the club is largely viewed as an expensive failure in Spain.

Perez's plan for Bale to take over the mantle as Madrid's talisman from Cristiano Ronaldo never materialized as his role has significantly reduced under Zidane since Ronaldo left the club two years ago.

Bale started just one match when the 2019-20 season resumed after the coronavirus hiatus and caused a stir with his behavior while he watched from the stands.

The winger still has an emotional attachment to Tottenham after joining the club from Southampton as a teenager, where he developed from a leftback into one of the world's most explosive attackers.

Former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, who managed Bale for four years at Tottenham, said he would bring "that little bit of magic" to Mourinho's side, which lost its first game of the Premier League season to Everton last weekend.

"It would be a fantastic signing for the club," Redknapp told BBC Radio Wales. "It would be great for Gareth to get back playing again. He's such a talent, such a great player. It's a waste to see him not playing."

Bale's return to playing regularly in the Premier League would also be a boost for Wales manager Ryan Giggs with the postponed Euro 2020 tournament to come at the end of the season.

Tottenham is also close to completing the signing of Madrid leftback Sergio Reguilon for around 30 million euros.

Reguilon enjoyed an excellent season for Madrid in 2018-19 but Zidane sent the 23-year-old on loan last year to Sevilla, where he helped the club win the Europa League.

A buy-back clause is expected to be inserted into the deal, which would allow Real to re-sign Reguilon from Spurs in the next two years.

Agence France-presse

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