Bale re­turns to Spurs to be ‘happy again’

Sea­son-long loan move from Real Madrid to be sealed to­day Winger fly­ing in to sign along with £27.5m full-back Reguilon

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Sam Wal­lace and Mike McGrath

Gareth Bale will fly into London to­day to com­plete his re­turn to Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, in a move that his agent says will “hope­fully get some hap­pi­ness back in his life”.

The terms of Bale’s sea­son-long loan move from Real Madrid have been agreed in prin­ci­ple, with rou­tine pa­per­work over switch­ing coun­tries and tax ad­min­is­tra­tion left to com­plete be­fore a trans­fer is fi­nalised. Real are expected to pay around half of the winger’s £600,000-a-week wages.

Bale un­der­went a med­i­cal in Spain last night and will fly to London on the same plane as full-back Ser­gio Reguilon, who is also poised to strengthen Jose Mour­inho’s squad, in a £27.5mil­lion deal. Spurs nar­rowly pro­gressed to the Europa League qual­i­fy­ing third round last night with a 2-1 come­back win against Loko­mo­tiv Plov­div.

Jonathan Bar­nett, who over­saw Bale’s £85.3mil­lion move to Real in 2013 and has ne­go­ti­ated the terms of the loan with Spurs chair­man Daniel Levy, said the 31-year-old had cho­sen Spurs over other of­fers be­cause of his his­tory with the club.

Speak­ing to The Daily Tele­graph,

Bar­nett said Bale had “a hell of a love for Tot­ten­ham” and that “when Tot­ten­ham came call­ing it was where he wanted to be”.

He added that he was “re­lieved” that the deal was im­mi­nent, with Bale hav­ing en­dured a dif­fi­cult two years in Spain which have seen him frozen out of the Real first team.

“It is good for Gareth and ob­vi­ously I hope it’s good for Tot­ten­ham. My main con­cern is Gareth and hope­fully he will get some hap­pi­ness back in his life,” Bar­nett said.

“Gareth is the most suc­cess­ful foot­baller ever to leave these shores and maybe even the most suc­cess­ful Bri­tish foot­baller ever. You are talk­ing about some­one who has achieved ev­ery­thing.”

In terms of Bale’s long-term fu­ture, Bar­nett said that it would be the player’s choice how he ended

his ca­reer “once he gets his hap­pi­ness play­ing foot­ball back”. He said: “What hap­pened at Real Madrid was un­for­tu­nate for many rea­sons and now he wants to show the world what a great player he is – he is un­doubt­edly one of the best in the world.”

Bale’s pref­er­ence for a squad num­ber would be 11, the sec­ond he oc­cu­pied dur­ing his six years at White Hart Lane. The num­ber cur­rently be­longs to Erik Lamela, signed in the sum­mer of Bale’s de­par­ture, and there have been no fi­nal de­ci­sions made yet.

Bale, who will not be part of the Spurs squad to face Southamp­ton, his first club, on Sun­day, ar­rived at Real’s train­ing ground ear­lier yes­ter­day and trained on his own rather than with Zine­dine Zi­dane’s squad.

Bale won the Cham­pi­ons League four times dur­ing his time at the club, most re­cently with a spec­tac­u­lar scis­sors-kick in the fi­nal against Liver­pool two years ago. But his re­la­tion­ship with Zi­dane has been at break­ing point since the end of last sea­son.

Bar­nett said that Levy had been in­stru­men­tal in mak­ing the deal hap­pen. “He [Levy] has stuck his neck out,” Bar­nett said. “He’s done bloody well. You have got to give him credit and ad­mire his guts. He has put his money where his mouth is.”

Madrid have pri­vately ad­mit­ted they made a mis­take block­ing Bale’s £1 mil­lion-a-week move to China last sum­mer when per­sonal terms had been agreed for him to leave the Bern­abeu. Jiangsu Sun­ing were will­ing to make him among the best-paid play­ers in the world by tak­ing him on a free trans­fer, only for Bale’s club to de­mand a fee in the fi­nal stages of the deal.

Last sea­son, Bale asked not to travel for Real’s clash against Manch­ester City in the Cham­pi­ons League af­ter be­ing told by Zi­dane he would be sit­ting in the stands at the Eti­had Sta­dium. This was a rare con­ver­sa­tion be­tween the pair as they were barely on speak­ing terms.

He was an un­used sub­sti­tute for six games to­wards the end of the Liga sea­son, then left out of Zi­dane’s match-day squad en­tirely on the fi­nal day of the cam­paign. While on in­ter­na­tional duty with Wales, Bale re­vealed he was will­ing to re­turn to the Premier League and crit­i­cised Real for block­ing his move to China. He still has two sea­sons re­main­ing on his deal.

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