It’s taken over half the season, but Gareth Bale is finally starting to round into the form that Tottenham Hotspur fans hoped for him when he was signed on loan from Real Madrid this summer. Bale came to Spurs injured and spent a ton of time very gradually working his way to match fitness and earning game time.
His output has exploded over the past couple of weeks. Since the first match against Wolfsberger in mid-February, a stretch of six matches, Bale has scored six goals and tallied three assists in all competitions, while averaging 55 minutes of match time and starting five times. He’s had four goals and an assist over the past three league games. He’s not a 90-minute player anymore, but he’s doing some pretty remarkable things now with the time he’s been given.
It’s led some to start openly discussing what once looked unthinkable — that Bale’s tenure at Tottenham might actually extend past a single season on loan. There were initial reports at the time of his signing that Bale’s loan contract, negotiated by Daniel Levy, included a clause to extend the loan to a second year at the same terms, but those initial reports were seen as somewhat speculative.
They aren’t now. Football.London’s Spurs beat journalist Alasdair Gold recently recorded a YouTube video in which he discussed Bale’s future, and confirmed those very facts — Tottenham have the
The conversation on Bale’s future starts at around 10:00’. The video should begin at that point, but you can forward to it if needed.
“I’ve noticed there’s been a few reports today saying that there’s no option for Spurs to have a second year [of Bale].
“At the time, I reported this and I checked into it again today just to confirm and I’m still led to believe it is the case that Tottenham do have essentially what is a first option for a second season loan for Spurs. So they have first dibs on taking [Bale again].
“And from what I understand, it’s on the same terms as this season, which if I understand correctly was roughly 40-45% of his Real Madrid wages, which is terrific, a really great deal.
“The decision hasn’t been made yet, there’s a lot of season to go. As always, you’ve got to kind of weigh up everything, but Bale right now is absolutely smashing it, and this is the Bale that you take for a second season. But obviously there are fears about injures, so they’ll take a bit of time over it.”
Gold goes on to discuss Tottenham’s precarious financial standing after a pandemic year with virtually no income, a situation mirrored but just about every other club in English football at the moment, and how this might have some factor in the decision on whether or not to pull the trigger on Bale’s loan extension. However, should fans come back to the stadium, he calls it a “no brainer” so long as he continues his strong run of form to the end of the season.
A lot can happen in between now and when a decision might have to be made, and nobody is expecting the club to make a decision on Bale’s future immediately. That decision will almost certainly be made after or near the end of the current campaign and could be impacted by whether or not Spurs qualify for Europe next season.
But now that we’ve seen what Gareth Bale can do, it’s no longer a gimme that he’d be returning to Madrid and his beloved golf courses once this season wraps up. There’s now a very real chance that Spurs can keep him around for one more year and through the expiration of his Madrid contract.