WHAT HAPPENED

Earlier on Tuesday it had been reported a swap deal involving England international Dele Alli had been proposed, and those reports were given added weight when the player’s agent confirmed that talks were ongoing with the club.

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"That’s where [Tottenham] he wants to go,” Barnett told the AP.

Bale left Tottenham in 2013 for a fee in the region of €100 million, but, despite winning four Champions League titles, his time in the Spanish capital has soured.

Madrid are keen to get the 31-year-old’s wages off their books, but the Santiago Bernabeu club may have to subsidise those – said to be in the region of £600,000 per week – to push a move through.

BALE TO SPURS? A FINANCIAL IMPOSSIBILITY?

Well, yes. Normally. However, there now appears a genuine and real appetite from both Bale and Madrid to bring the Welshman’s time at the Santiago Bernabeu to an end. And that appetite should lead to compromise.

Bale, who has two years left on his deal at Real, had previously indicated that he was happy to see the remaining years of that deal out.

However, it is clear that if he were to remain in Spain he would see little playing time. Zinedine Zidane has made that abundantly clear through his actions.

Therefore, the admission by his agent that talks with former club Spurs had begun indicates a thawing of relations. And there will have to be substantial compromise from both Madrid and Bale were a move to Spurs to materialise as the London club can afford a fraction of his reported £600,000 a week wages.

FORGET WAGES, WHAT ABOUT A FEE?

The Telegraph see a loan-swap deal involving Dele Alli as a way of negating a transfer fee. This is how Matt Law and Sam Wallace see that as playing out:

  • Bale returns to Spurs on loan with the London club paying 50% of his wages (£300,000)
  • Dele Alli moves in the other direction to the Santiago Bernabeu with Real paying 100% of his wages (£150,000)
  • The convoluted maths mean that while Tottenham would pay Bale £300,000, their accounts would only reflect an increase in outgoings of £150,000 due to the Alli saving

That is some serious mathematical gymnastics but there is some logic behind it, particularly if Spurs had budgeted for one marquee signing this window with wages around the 150k mark.

WOULD THIS BE SOMETHING REAL WOULD BE INTERESTED IN?

Eurosport Spain’s Enrique Sanchez thinks it is a distinct possibility.

Real find a way out of these situations. They have done it before, they paid part of Raúl González’s salary when he went to Schalke, and if a player doesn't want to stay at Real, the club will find a way. Look what happened to big players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Iker Casillas and Raúl. No matter if it's money, problems with coaches or with the club, but they found a way out. Plus the signing of a player like Dele Alli would appease fans in a season with no big transfers.

SO WHAT’S IN IT FOR BALE?

History dictates that Bale has had an exceptional Real Madrid career, one laden with success and trophies. However, has his performance level consistently – a different metric to trophies or success – hit the heights of his time at Tottenham? Well yes, but also no. There have been individual moments of brilliance: the Copa del Rey final goal against Barcelona in 2014 and the overhead kick in the Champions League final against Liverpool in 2018, and, of course, trophy after trophy.

However, he has never been Madrid's leader. First it was Cristiano Ronaldo and in his absence Karim Benzema took on that mantle. He was signed as Ronaldo's heir but never managed to fulfil that obligation. Despite all of his excellence in Madrid, the fit never seemed quite right, and the end – when it finally comes - will have been tumultuous and bitter. There is, of course, a recency bias at play here - the end has been drawn out and handled badly, and so, Tottenham, as they were in 2013, seem a good fit for Bale.

That is partially because at Madrid the team was never set up with him as its focal point - not the way Jose Mourinho’s protégé Andres Villas Boas set up the Spurs team in which Bale excelled. In fact, Mourinho still sets his teams up in a variation of that: a team focused on transition and reliant on a player or players of explosive brilliance. Bale remains that player – in fact he is a Mourinho player. Whether he and Harry Kane can fit within the same architecture remains to be seen but Bale is that agent of chaos that Mourinho has always relied on.

And that is probably why Bale, Spurs and Mourinho all seem keen to get a move over the line.

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