Gareth Bale: Tottenham close to signing winger on loan from Real Madrid

Tottenham prepared to pay around £20m in wages and loan fees to bring former forward back to the club

Gareth Bale
Image: Gareth Bale left Tottenham for Real Madrid in 2013

Tottenham are close to agreeing a deal to sign Gareth Bale on loan from Real Madrid.

Bale spent several hours on Thursday at Madrid's training ground, where he was understood to be working out in the gym, as he awaits the green light to fly to London to sign the contract that will see him return to the club he left in a world-record £86m transfer seven years ago.

preview image 0:11
Gareth Bale arrives at Real Madrid's training ground ahead of a proposed loan move to Tottenham.

Lawyers in Spain and England are working on drawing up contracts which will make Bale a Spurs player again on a season-long loan deal. Spurs have agreed to pay about £20m in wages and loan fees.

Bale is keen to play for a club where he believes he will be respected and appreciated again.

Although he played for Wales twice this month, he is not fully match fit and it is expected it will take a month for him to get back to his best.

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Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol says he has been told it will take a month before Bale is fully match-fit and back to his best

A source close to the negotiations says progress is slow at the moment but there is an expectation on all sides a deal will be completed. When asked if Bale would become a Spurs player soon, the source said: "Of course."

Real Madrid have agreed to let him leave on loan in order to get his £500,000-a-week wages off their books and Tottenham have made all the running to sign him this week.

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As well as being frozen out by Zinedine Zidane, Bale has had a difficult relationship with the Spanish media and Real fans, and he is looking forward to making a fresh start back at Spurs.

Manchester United considered making a move for him as a back-up option to Jadon Sancho, but they did not make an offer, even though they have tried to sign him on numerous occasions since he was at Southampton 13 years ago.

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale 1:55
Sky Sports News' Dharmesh Sheth looks at whether Tottenham could have stolen the limelight away from rivals Arsenal, as their interest in Bale was revealed hours after the Gunners announced Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had signed a new contract

Where would Bale fit in at Spurs?

Bale has enjoyed much of his success on the right wing and, despite those infamous White Hart Lane chants reminding Harry Redknapp that he 'plays on the left', it is there that the 31-year-old forward would expect to be deployed on his return to the Premier League.

In the autumn of his career, those bursts of pace down the outside are likely to become more infrequent but Bale will surely retain the ability to cut inside and find enough space to fire off shots from distance with his favoured left foot - something that he does better than almost anyone.

In the final season of his first spell with Spurs, Bale scored no fewer than nine Premier League goals from outside the box - which was as many as the two next best players that season combined. Indeed, nobody has come close to matching that tally since.

With two years left on his contract, no other club is likely to match his wages 3:10
Sky Sports News reporters Dharmesh Sheth and Kaveh Solhekol explain why Manchester United never began 'credible negotiations' to sign Bale from Real Madrid

For Jose Mourinho at Tottenham, the sense of urgency is more acute. Lucas Moura remains a popular figure given his Champions League semi-final heroics in Amsterdam but there are now question marks over his output on the right flank and the acquisition of Bale would represent a significant upgrade.

The suggestions are Spurs would still be interested in signing a striker as well as Bale but there is also the intriguing possibility of the Wales forward being able to fill in for Harry Kane should the England captain face the kind of lay-off that hindered his activity last season.

Bale would be a more robust presence than the alternatives and if his mobility does deteriorate in the coming years it is tempting to think that he could make the sort of transition to that centre-forward role made seamlessly by former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

Analysis: 'Calculated risk signing Bale'

Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol on 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 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 move to China that was blocked at the last minute but Real Madrid have made it very clear they want him out this summer. Bale before has 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.

Gareth Bale lit up  White Hart Lane during his time as a Tottenham player 0:24
Former Tottenham team-mate Michael Dawson discusses what Gareth Bale will bring to Jose Mourinho's side as a return to Spurs looks imminent

"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'

Gareth Bale 1:17
Gareth Bale joining Tottenham from Real Madrid would suit all parties, according to the Spanish club's former president Ramon Calderon

Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon on Sky Sports News:

"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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