One of the great tragedies (from a footballing perspective) of COVID-19 was that Gareth Bale made a glorious return to Tottenham Hotspur last season on loan from Real Madrid, and nobody got to see him play live because all football matches were played behind closed doors.
Well, maybe we’ll get a chance after all. This morning, a strange rumor emerged from the wilds of bat country that suggested that Gareth Bale might not be done with football (as everyone seems to think) after all when his Real Madrid contract expires at the end of the season. Catalan newspaper El Nacional is reporting that Bale is working on a deal to re-join Tottenham Hotspur permanently on a free transfer this summer.
Here’s the gist, much of which will feel familiar. Real Madrid is DONE with Gareth Bale. The feeling is very much mutual. But Bale, who is on a huge contract in Spain, is determined to get every last dollar that Madrid owes him before leaving the club. El Nacional reports that the only reason that Bale didn’t leave the club this past summer is because he was due a signing bonus if he leaves on a free transfer, and Madrid were asking too much financially to keep him on loan a further year. Also, Nuno Espirito Santo, Spurs’ manager at the time, was not keen on keeping him around.
This report states that a deal has been finalized to sign Bale permanently for months now, though there aren’t any indications (yet) whether Gareth would be willing to take a haircut on his astronomical wages to finish his career under Antonio Conte.
Okay. Now look — this sounds pretty good! Gareth Bale had a great year on loan last season — 11 goals and two assists in 920 minutes in all competitions is a great haul for a guy who will be 33 next season. Does he fit into Antonio Conte’s plans? Hell if I know. Maybe? I figure Conte’s the kind of manager who wouldn’t mind dealing with the “headache” of how to fit one of the best UK footballers of all time in his team, but who knows.
But this rumor has also come out of absolutely nowhere. We are always skeptical about foreign football reports, especially from weird sources and [checks notes] ElNacional.cat would definitely qualify. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it isn’t! We’re probably going to find out sooner or later if this or a similar rumor emerges in a more reputable source.
We’ve been wrong about Gareth Bale coming back to Tottenham before. Hell, I think I’ve made comments about “eating my hat” before Bale would come back to north London, and look where that got me! (I didn’t actually eat my hat, though.) Gareth really seemed to enjoy his year back at Spurs under Jose Mourinho, Daniel Levy reportedly LOVES the guy, and it seems pretty natural that Bale might be open to ending his career here.
But before we get too excited, let’s hold on and see if there are not-Catalan nationalist newspaper sources that suggest the same thing.