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MARCA: Bale return to Tottenham “on the table”

[long resigned sigh]

Rayo Vallecano de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Guess who’s back in the Spanish newspaper headlines? That’s right, it’s our good buddy Gareth Bale. The Welsh forward has been linked with a move away from Real Madrid almost since the day he arrived back in 2013 as fans have never really warmed to him or his game.

Bale’s unhappiness, combined with the strong indications that his old club Tottenham Hotspur are planning a substantial overhaul of the squad this summer have created a perfect storm for transfer rumors linking the Welsh wizard with a return to North London.

Most of them are stupid. This one probably is too. Spanish daily MARCA is reporting that Bale met for two hours with his agent on Wednesday on a potential exit plan from the Bernabeu, and that a transfer back to Tottenham is “on the table.”

Look, I don’t really want to write this rumor up. Nothing good will come of it. There are so many reasons why a Bale-to-Spurs transfer isn’t going to happen, from an astronomical transfer fee for a 29-year old player with a penchant for numerous injuries every season, to his current wages which are reportedly as high as €600k/week. But since the transfer window opened, we might as well talk about it.

The only way a Gareth Bale permanent transfer to Spurs happens this summer is if Gareth wants out and only wants to come back to Spurs, if Madrid decides they’re okay with losing their shirts over the transfer fee just to get him out of the club, and if Gareth either decides he’s okay with playing on 13 of his existing wages, or if Madrid massively subsidizes his existing wages while he’s at Spurs. That’s a TON of “ifs.” Charitably, there’s a non-zero percent chance that all of these things happen — and after Tottenham’s against-the-odds Champions League run who am I to say it’s impossible? — but it’s super unlikely.

There’s also been paper talk about a potential loan, which could make sense if, again, Madrid are willing to pay the lion’s share of Bale’s wages next season. There could even be an option to buy at the end, though I can’t see Spurs ponying up that kind of cash for a player who will turn 30 next season. Plus there’s the fact that we haven’t seen a single incoming loan at Spurs in the Pochettino era — it’s clear he doesn’t like them because of the short-range solution that loans provide. But would he make an exception for a world-class talent like Gareth Bale? Unclear.

As for the story itself, I don’t doubt that it happened. I’m sure Bale met with his agent. I’m sure they mooted north London as a potential destination if they try and pull the parachute cord. But is it realistic? Friends, I have a very hard time seeing it.

There’s a certain amount of nostalgic excitement that I get when I think about Gareth Bale returning to Tottenham. It makes me feel things that I haven’t felt since I was a relatively nascent Spurs fans in the early 2010s. It’s also fair to say that Madrid have backed themselves into a corner with their handling of Bale, to the extent that they’ll likely need to put a discount on him or risk having an expensive and unhappy player on their books for the foreseeable future. But unless both Bale and Madrid are willing to make some serious concessions, I just don’t see this happening.