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The Athletic: Gareth Bale does not intend to return to Tottenham next season

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Bale reportedly was frustrated by his management at Spurs by Jose Mourinho.

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur are said to have a clause in their loan agreement for Gareth Bale this past season that would allow the club to extend Bale’s return to North London for another season, should all parties agree. According to The Athletic (£), after the past season at Spurs, Bale will not agree to come back to London and will return to Real Madrid for the final year of his contract.

In a compelling piece that mostly focuses on Bale’s love of international football with Wales, Laurie Whitwell and Stuart James drop some compelling bits of information on Bale’s future, and it does not look as though Spurs fans should expect “Gaz” to return to Spurs next season, regardless of who the new manager will be. Bale is said to be highly frustrated with how he was handled under Jose Mourinho in a season that saw him start on ten matches, and his very good form under interim boss Ryan Mason is a window of what he could’ve brought to Spurs over the course of an entire season, had he been given the chance.

Bale only started 10 Premier League games for Tottenham Hotspur last season in a year’s loan from Real Madrid, causing him frustration and, to those watching from afar, casting doubt on his ability to still dominate matches at the highest level. Reminders of his class came towards the end of the campaign, however, when he scored a hat-trick against Sheffield United and two goals at Leicester City. His performance against Turkey was further proof that, a month before he turns 32, his quality endures.

There are some close to Bale who feel he was badly mismanaged by Spurs, particular under Jose Mourinho, and all it took was a regular run of games back at the club he left to join Madrid in 2013 for his form to glisten.

— The Athletic

There’s likely some nuance to that apparent frustration. Bale certainly needed some time, especially at the beginning of the season, to get back to some semblance of fitness and form after a long period without regular matches at Madrid. His early appearances didn’t exactly make him look like the international superstar that he clearly still is, and his lack of pace was notable at Tottenham, even if he still displayed some truly absurdly good technical ability.

Mourinho is long gone, of course and Spurs fans are free to add this to the basketful of grievances that they still harbor towards him after the past two years. It also unfortunately means that while Bale clearly enjoyed his return to Spurs, this plus Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment at Madrid and (likely) the current instability at Tottenham mean that he is now not planning on returning for a second year in North London. The Athletic went as far as to say that he informed the club of this “weeks ago.”

On a club level, people at Tottenham were aware weeks ago that Bale did not intend to return for a second season on loan. Since then, though, the dynamic at Madrid has shifted with the return of Carlo Ancelotti, a manager Bale says he gets on with “really well”. The joke goes that under Zinedine Zidane, Bale could have expected to get weekends off, but with Ancelotti he won the Champions League and Copa del Rey, scoring in both finals.

Another loan elsewhere is said to be out of the question with Bale’s young children in school, but Major League Soccer clubs are investigating their prospects of luring the 31-year-old across the Atlantic. Whether any teams in the US have the financial resources to do so is open to debate, and it is worth noting that lifestyle is important to Bale, who has a growing family living happily in Madrid.

— The Athletic

It’s a shame that thanks to COVID-19 both Bale and Tottenham fans will not be given the opportunity to see him play at Spurs’ new stadium with a full crowd in attendance. Bale’s stunning return to the club with which he made his big breakthrough into international prominence was one of the few bright spots in what was otherwise a hugely disappointing season. That his loan was marred by playing behind closed doors for a manager who clearly did not want nor appreciate him is almost tragic, if you’re a Spurs fan. It will be interesting to see how and in what way he talks about his time at Spurs, if he ever does.