Gareth Bale's agent has told Sky Sports News the forward has never been closer to leaving Real Madrid since his then world-record transfer in 2013 and is waiting for the green light to fly to London in his private jet and seal the move to Tottenham.
Bale's advisors are talking to Spurs about a potential loan move from Real and negotiations have reached the stage that lawyers were drawing up contracts on Wednesday night.
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It is understood Bale would like to return to Spurs - where he spent six seasons between 2007 and 2013 - and if a deal can be agreed with the Spanish club and that while slow progress is being made, all parties are confident a transfer can be done.
"There's a long way to go on some issues, but without doubt Gareth is closer to leaving Madrid than at any time in last seven years," Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, told Sky Sports News.
"The deal is complicated, but there's reason to believe a deal is close and things could move very quickly if discussions continue to go well."
Spurs head coach Jose Mourinho did not want to be drawn on the club's pursuit of Bale when fielding questions ahead of Thursday's Europa League qualifier against Bulgarian side Lokomotiv Plovdiv.
Asked if Bale was a player he admired, Mourinho said: "I tried to sign him for Real Madrid which was not possible to do during my time there. But the president followed my instinct and my knowledge and the season I left he brought Gareth to the club.
"There is no secret on [my admiration of the player], I think even Gareth knows that."
However, it is understood that Mourinho, having received permission from Madrid to open discussions, has spoken to Bale, explaining how he would play a pivotal role in his system.
"Gareth has spoken to Jose and explained how Spurs have a special place in his heart," added Barnett.
Bale remains in Madrid for now but is believed to be excited by the progress which has been made.
Agreement has been reached on many of the key financial issues - although there is still crucial work to be carried out on what is understood to be a complicated negotiation.
Having earned more than any other British footballer, the financial aspects of his deal, including his image rights, need to be agreed by a number of parties.
It is thought unlikely that Bale, who earns in excess of £600,000-a-week, will take a pay cut as part of any deal and that Tottenham are the only club presently in discussions with the 31-year old Wales international.
Real would prefer Bale to leave on a permanent deal.
United: No meaningful talks took place for Bale
Sky Sports News reporter Alan Myers on the view from Old Trafford:
"Once it became apparent that a return to the Premier League was a distinct probability for Gareth Bale, it was almost inevitable that Manchester United's name would be linked with the Real Madrid star.
"Compounding the issue would of course be the impasse over United's long-running pursuit of Jadon Sancho. But the reality is, while United undoubtedly will have raised an eyebrow to what was happening with Bale, there was no real credible negotiation or dialogue between the two parties.
"Privately, the hierarchy at United were prepared to listen to the details of any such proposed move back to England for Bale but that's as far as it got within the corridors of Old Trafford
"There is a widely understood belief that the former Spurs man wants to return to the place where he made his name, but equally having the name of Manchester United connected would always have strengthened any bargaining hand in negotiations.
"United's rebuilding process is accompanied by a strict wage structure and, although it would be a very exciting transfer, it would go against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's master plan
"Spurs are possibly in line to make a double swoop with Sergio Reguilon looking likely to join Bale in London, this was another deal which never went past the discussion stage at Old Trafford - one of the sticking points being a buy-back clause which United would not entertain."
Insight: What needs to happen for the deal to go through?
Sky Sports News' Paul Gilmour:
"There is a feeling that the most difficult aspect of the deal has already been sorted out which is the wages. Real Madrid are willing to subsidise part of that to make this deal happen.
"What we know as of Wednesday morning, Tottenham and Real Madrid remain in talks over the sensational return to north London and those talks centre around a loan deal. What we don't know if there's the possible option to buy.
"Bale has two years left on his contract, and that loan might just see out those two years. There certainly is a feeling among those close to the deal that this is more likely to happen than not as things stand. There's a real optimism.
"The Bale to Tottenham story has come up in most windows over the past three years but the issues has always been about them not being able to afford his wages.
"If Tottenham are in a position where they only have to pay between £200,000 to £300,000-a-week, there is a feeling that this deal is one within their grasp."
Analysis: Spurs taking a calculated risk for Bale
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol told The Transfer Show:
"There are three reasons why this is happening. The first is because Bale wants to play for Spurs again. Secondly, Real Madrid want to sell him, they need to sell him to get his wages off their books and the third reason is that Spurs want him back, Daniel Levy wants him back.
"There has been a big mood change as far as Bale and Real Madrid are concerned. Last summer, he came very close to a move to China that was blocked at the last minute but Real Madrid have made it very clear that they want him out this summer. Bale before ha stuck to his guns and said 'I've got two years left on my contract, I'm not going anywhere' but in the last couple of weeks, his position has changed, he wants to play football again and he will get that at Spurs.
"Spurs' motto is 'To Dare is To Do', which means you have to believe in yourself and take a risk. Spurs are taking a risk signing Bale but it is a calculated risk, it makes sense to them because they are going to get him on loan, they will be paying a portion of his wages and over the whole season, it looks like he will cost them about £20m and in the current economic climate, it is a deal that makes sense for all parties."
Analysis: 'Now is the time for Bale to leave Madrid'
Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon told Sky Sports:
"If it's Tottenham that he wants to go to, I'm sure he'll go there. I don't have a personal knowledge of his intentions or the terms of the deal, but apparently it looks to be Tottenham.
"Sometimes when the salary of the player wanting to leave Real Madrid is very high, we've shared part of that salary but I don't know if that's going to be the case now.
"He came here being the MVP from Tottenham, but now the point is to see if he can recover his time as a good player as it's clear that Zinedine Zidane doesn't count on him. It's the time to end this situation and for me it's the best moment to do that.
"I suppose it will be [a permanent deal]. He has two years left on his contract so if he leaves this season, I feel he would stay at the new club for the rest of his career. He has three or four more years at a good level, so if he goes to Tottenham maybe he will finish his career there.
"I don't know if Dele Alli will be part of the deal, but I don't think Tottenham would want to let him go as he's a very good player. Any big team would want to have him in their side."
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The summer transfer window will run for 10 weeks from July 27 and close at 11pm on October 5.
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