Gareth Bale left Tottenham for Real Madrid in 2013
Tottenham are close to agreeing a deal to sign Gareth Bale on loan from Real Madrid.
Bale is waiting in Madrid for the green light to fly to London to sign the contract that will see him return to the club he left in a world-record £86m transfer seven years ago.
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Lawyers in Spain and England are working on drawing up contracts which will make Bale a Spurs player again on a season-long loan deal. Spurs have agreed to pay about £20 million in wages and loan fees.
Bale is keen to play for a club where he believes he will be respected and appreciated again.
Although he played for Wales twice this month, he is not fully match fit and it is expected that it will take a month for him to get back to his best.
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol says he has been told it will take a month before Bale is fully match-fit and back to his best
A source close to the negotiations says progress is slow at the moment but there is an expectation on all sides that a deal will be completed. When asked if Bale would become a Spurs player soon, the source said: “Of course.”
Real Madrid have agreed to let him leave on loan in order to get his £500,000-a-week wages off their books and Tottenham have made all the running to sign him this week.
As well as being frozen out by Zinedine Zidane, Bale has had a difficult relationship with the Spanish media and Real fans, and he is looking forward to making a fresh start back at Spurs.
Manchester United considered making a move for him as a back-up option to Jadon Sancho, but they did not make an offer, even though they have tried to sign him on numerous occasions since he was at Southampton 13 years ago.
Where would Bale fit in at Spurs?
Bale has enjoyed much of his success on the right wing and, despite those infamous White Hart Lane chants reminding Harry Redknapp that he ‘plays on the left’, it is there that the 31-year-old forward would expect to be deployed on his return to the Premier League.
Sky Sports News’ Dharmesh Sheth looks at whether Tottenham could have stolen the limelight away from rivals Arsenal, as their interest in Bale was revealed hours after the Gunners announced Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had signed a new contract
In the autumn of his career, those bursts of pace down the outside are likely to become more infrequent but Bale will surely retain the ability to cut inside and find enough space to fire off shots from distance with his favoured left foot – something that he does better than almost anyone.
In the final season of his first spell with Spurs, Bale scored no fewer than nine Premier League goals from outside the box – which was as many as the two next best players that season combined. Indeed, nobody has come close to matching that tally since.
For Jose Mourinho at Tottenham, the sense of urgency is more acute. Lucas Moura remains a popular figure given his Champions League semi-final heroics in Amsterdam but there are now question marks over his output on the right flank and the acquisition of Bale would represent a significant upgrade.
The suggestions are that Spurs would still be interested in signing a striker as well as Bale but there is also the intriguing possibility of the Welshman being able to fill in for Harry Kane should the England captain face the kind of lay-off that hindered his activity last season.
Sky Sports News reporters Dharmesh Sheth and Kaveh Solhekol explain why Manchester United never began ‘credible negotiations’ to sign Bale from Real Madrid
Bale would be a more robust presence than the alternatives and if his mobility does deteriorate in the coming years it is tempting to think that he could make the sort of transition to that centre-forward role made seamlessly by former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
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