Gareth Bale is currently sitting tight and waiting for approval from Real Madrid to board a flight to London to complete his highly-anticipated switch back to Tottenham Hotspur.
Despite many reports over the years that he was set to leave the Bernabeu, his agent has revealed this is the closest he has ever come to actually leaving, even more so than when he was set to move to China last year.
“There’s a long way to go on some issues, but without doubt Gareth is closer to leaving Madrid than at any time in last seven years,” Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, told Sky Sports News.
“The deal is complicated, but there’s reason to believe a deal is close and things could move very quickly if discussions continue to go well.”
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Although Real Madrid are pushing for the deal to be permanent, the move is set to instead be a loan for the season, such is manager Zinedine Zidane’s desire to remove him from his squad, reports The Independent.
The deal as it stands is set to be a one-year loan with no fee and Spurs paying 50 per cent of Bale’s astronomical wages, meaning Spurs would be footing the bill for around £250,000 a week – more than what top earner Harry Kane is paid.
The Independent also claims the only fee Madrid will receive is performance related, which at most would bring the deal to just under £20m.
“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,” Jose Mourinho said in a press conference on Wednesday. “That’s no secret and Gareth knows that.”
The prospect of the deal came up while discussions were taking place over the £30m move for Real left-back Sergio Reguilon, who is expected join on a five-year deal after Manchester United pulled out of discussions over Madrid’s insistence on a first-option buy-back clause.
United also baulked at the idea of signing Bale, despite spending so many off-seasons courting him, having been scarred after their experience of paying such high wages for a player at that age with Alexis Sanchez.
Bale’s arrival could result in a high-profile departure from Spurs however, with the Telegraph in the UK suggesting Dele Alli could be forced to consider his future at the club.
Dele was one of eight players not to be included in the Spurs squad to fly to Bulgaria for their Europa League game this week, despite being fit to play and other key men like Kane set to start the match.
It reports that the possibility of Dele moving to Real in return was raised in the talks about Bale and Reguilon but that his potential availability has sparked interest from a host of top clubs across Europe – either on a loan or permanently.
Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte has a large ex-Premier League contingent in his squad and is a big fan of the midfielder, while PSG are also interested.