Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has this afternoon briefly opened up on the possibility of Gareth Bale making a return to north London.
Up-and-down Real stint
Bale, 30, has been on the books of recently-dethroned European champions Real Madrid since the summer of 2013.
However, as has been widely-covered in the media, the Welshman’s time at the Bernabeu has proven far from straightforward.
Despite having played in a key role in his side’s 4 Champions League triumphs since his arrival in the Spanish capital, showcasing his world-class abilities with countless stunning goals and assists, the story of Bale’s career has long-been the explosive wide-man’s injury troubles.
The former Tottenham man has managed over 30 La Liga starts just once over the course of his 6 years with Real.
The 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons combined, meanwhile, saw Bale start in less than half of Los Blancos’ league outings, after struggling with a number of persistent calf and ankle problems.
And the recently-completed 2018/19 campaign saw Bale once again in and out of the starting XI in Madrid.
However, significantly, even when fit, the Welshman’s performances often left a lot to be desired.
Zinedine Zidane’s return to the hotseat at the Bernabeu in March, meanwhile, subsequently saw Bale’s game-time dip even further.
This came to a head back in May, when, in potentially the Welshman’s final outing in a Real jersey, Zidane opted to leave Bale on the bench for the entirety of his side’s 2-0 final-day La Liga defeat to Real Betis.
Gareth Bale has three years on his contract.
Real Madrid were 2-0 down. Zinedine Zidane left him benched. @GuillemBalague: “The guy in charge didn’t show Gareth Bale any respect or love last season, comes back and doesn’t even talk to him.” || https://t.co/me8DZarSWt pic.twitter.com/WJCYKCotDy
— Eleven Sports (@ElevenSports_UK) May 19, 2019
‘Hope he leaves soon’
And, though speculation surrounding the future of the experienced wide-man had somewhat died down of late, Zidane earlier today moved to make clear once-and-for-all that he has absolutely no intention of utilising Bale for the upcoming campaign:
Bale did not play because he is very close to leaving.
We hope he leaves soon. It would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team.
I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done, I have to make decisions. We have to change.
The exit is the coach’s decision, and also of the player, who knows the situation.
The situation will change, I do not know if in 24 or 48 hours, but it will, and it’s a good thing for everyone.
ICYMI: Why Bale’s agent is furious 😡 pic.twitter.com/CNMAUyeiIS
— Goal (@goal) July 21, 2019
‘Don’t know if it is us’
This has since inevitably resulted in rumours surrounding where the Real star is set to end up reemerging this afternoon.
The manager of one of the clubs most persistently-touted as a potential destination, in the form of Bale’s former employers Tottenham, meanwhile, has since spoken out over the possibility of a north London return.
On the back of his side’s last-gasp pre-season win over Juventus, Mauricio Pochettino was questioned on whether Bale is a target to reinforce his side.
And the Argentine tactician point-blank refused to rule out the possibility of a move coming to fruition over the coming weeks, urging Daniel Levy to ‘build the best possible club’:
Pochettino on Bale: “I saw in the media but I don’t know which club is going to sign him. I don’t know if it is us or another club. It is the job of my chairman to built the best possible club.”
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) July 21, 2019