Sky Sports News reporter Michael Bridge has the latest news from Tottenham’s training ground ahead of Bale’s imminent return to the club
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane says he never had a problem with Gareth
Bale as he nears a return to Tottenham.
Bale completed a medical in Madrid on Thursday before flying to the UK and spending Friday afternoon at Spurs’ training ground.
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Lawyers in Spain and England have been drawing up contracts that will see Bale return to the club on a season-long loan deal, with Tottenham agreeing to pay around £20m in wages and loan fees.
Despite winning four Champions League titles, two La Ligas, one Copa del Rey, three Uefa Super Cups and three Club World Cups while at the Bernabeu, the 31-year-old has been frozen out by Zidane.
3:34 Spanish football journalist Alvaro Montero says Bale’s relationship with Zidane and the Real Madrid fans has played a part in his decision to leave
But the Real boss was quick to praise the contribution Bale had made and insisted there has never been a personal issue with him.
“I’ve never had an issue with him,” he said on the club’s official website. “I know what he’s done at this club, nobody can take that away from him and these are simply things that can happen for different reasons.
“All I can say is that he hasn’t signed yet, the deal isn’t done and we haven’t had any problems, which is what some people want.
“That hasn’t been the case. Nobody can question what he’s achieved. If there’s now a change in his career. All I can do is wish him all the best and that’s all there is to it.
“It’s not as simple as that, but they’re in negotiations and he’s in London.
“I haven’t spoken to him. He’s done excellently in terms of what he’s achieved here and there should be no discussion about that.
“He’s won a lot of silverware at Real Madrid. All of the players who play for Madrid are aware of the club they’re joining and I think that he’s proved his ability.
“We’ll now have to see what happens. We know what a fine player he is and what he’s done over these past seven years at Real Madrid.
“I think it’s also all about what the player wants. I’m not going to get into that. I’m not going to now go against what I’ve always said: that the player has done amazingly.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion on these issues. Gareth is still our player and the deal has yet to have been completed. We’re not going to speak about things yet as that would make no sense.”
1:03 Spanish football expert Terry Gibson says Jose Mourinho has brought Bale to start matches for Tottenham and he can play in a number of positions including filling in for striker Harry Kane
The Wales captain travelled to London accompanied by Real Madrid team-mate Sergio Reguilon, who is set to join Spurs on a five-year deal for a fee that could rise to £32m after also completing a medical on Thursday.
On Reguilon’s proposed departure, Zidane added: “We have two players for each position – no more.
“I have two left-backs and I can’t have more because then it’s a lot. It makes things more complicated we can just wish Reguilon all the best.”
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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.
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.
1:49 Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon says Bale will be perfect for Jose Mourinho’s counter-attacking style of football at Tottenham
For 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.
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.
Summer transfer window – key dates and times
The summer transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday October 5 with a feast of activity lined up on Transfer Deadline Day on Sky Sports News and across our Sky Sports platforms.
A domestic-only window for deals between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on SSN and across Sky Sports’ digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.