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Tottenham in active negotiations for the return of Gareth Bale

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Bale’s probably, finally, leaving Madrid. And Tottenham are legitimately in the frame for him. Wild.

Wales v Bulgaria - UEFA Nations League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

According to ESPN Senior Football Writer Mark Ogden, Gareth Bale is seemingly, finally, to leave Real Madrid for another club this summer, and it’s likely a two horse race between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United as to who will actually sign him. To hear Ogden put it, Tottenham is now in the lead.

Ogden is citing ESPN sources that claim Madrid will sell Bale for £18m, which goes along with past reports that they are also willing to subsidize half of his astronomical £600k/wk wages. That’s still a hefty chunk of change for a club like Spurs who only pays their top wage earner, Harry Kane, just north of £200k/wk. The report claims that there have been, and continue to be, negotiations between the two clubs.

If you read between the lines in Ogden’s report, it suggests that United may be Bale’s first choice, but he’s considered a failsafe option if United aren’t successful in their attempt to sign Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho. That means Bale knows that he can sign with Spurs at pretty much any time if he gets tired of waiting around. It puts Tottenham in the unenviable position of being a potential stalking horse, which, frankly, we should all be used to by now. It also means that we probably won’t have any sort of resolution here until close to the end of the window.

I still can’t quite believe this is a real thing that could potentially happen, and in truth it still feels like an elaborate fantasy considering the amount of money involved and the spending power of United. My brain is screaming at me that signing a 31-year old injury-prone superstar on astronomical wages who hasn’t had a good season or even played a lot of football since 2018 is a pretty spectacularly bad idea. My emotions, on the other hand, are making finger-hearts and screaming OMG BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALE COME HOME ALL IS FORGIVEN and thinking about how potentially fun he’d be in the six games he’d play uninjured this season.

So I don’t know what to think. It is, however, increasingly clear that this is a thing that might actually happen, despite our past vehement exhortations to the contrary #onhere. So let’s lean into the skid — if this happened, would you a) like it, and b) think it’s a good idea?

Let’s hear it, y’all.

UPDATE (11:34 AM ET):

It’s time to actually pay attention to this never-ending saga that might actually end. Gold has confirmed that the interest is real. It does seem the biggest hurdle, as expected, are Bale’s wages.

Spurs have worked out deals like this before. Emmanuel Adebayor is the prime example, who joined Spurs back in 2011. Adebayor was on £170,000/week at the time of the loan deal. Tottenham had a strict wage cap of £100,000/week that they needed to get under so City subsidized much of the striker’s salary in order to get the deal done. Eventually the move became permanent but it had no chance of getting off the ground without City paying a fair chunk.

If Spurs are serious about pulling off this reunion, Real are going to have to pay more than 50%. I don’t think it’s outlandish of Levy to suggest a 75/25 split because the Spanish side is desperate to be rid of him, but that will come down to negotiation.

Stay tuned.

Update 2 (2:25 pm): We’ve got more confirmation, and this time it’s from sources about as rock solid as you can get. Up first Dan “Dank P” Kilpatrick, from the Evening standard.

Also, David Ornstein is also reporting that there’s a REAL ACTUAL DEAL IN PROGRESS:

Guys. Guys. Guise.

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... I think we’re signing Gareth Bale.