Bale 'close' to Tottenham return, says agent

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 giants from Spurs for a world record fee.

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

Bale twice won Premier League Players' Player of the Year during his first spell at Tottenham, which saw him score 56 goals in 203 appearances and lure Madrid into paying a then world-record £85 million ($132 million, 100 million euros) 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 at Real Madrid.

Madrid are pushing for a permanent transfer, while Spurs would prefer a loan move that involves the Spanish champions covering a portion of the 31-year-old's wages.

According to reports in England, Tottenham are set to pay £13 million of Bale's salary for a year-long loan.

Bale joined Madrid the summer that Jose Mourinho left the Spanish giants, 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 followed my instinct and knowledge and the season I left, he brought Gareth to the club," Mourinho said in a press conference on Wednesday. "That's no secret and Gareth knows that."

- Turbulent relationship -

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

Real president Florentino Perez's plan for Bale to take over the mantle as Madrid's talisman from Cristiano Ronaldo never materialised 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 behaviour while he watched on in 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 left-back into one of the world's most exciting forwards.

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, who lost their first game of the Premier League season to Everton.

"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 Euro 2020 to come at the end of the season.

Tottenham are also close to completing the signing of Real Madrid left-back 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 them finish fourth in La Liga and 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.

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