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September 17, 2020

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Mourinho coy on Spurs’ Bale bid

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho refused to confirm yesterday whether the north London club was in talks to resign Gareth Bale from Real Madrid but said he tried to sign him when the winger was still a Spurs player.

Bale’s agent said on Tuesday that both clubs and the Welshman’s camp were discussing a potential arrangement which would see the 31-year-old return to the English Premier League after seven years with the Spanish champion.

Mourinho said he tried to sign Bale when he was in charge of Real from 2010 to 2013. The Wales international was also regularly linked with a move to Manchester United when Mourinho was at the helm at Old Trafford.

“Gareth Bale is a Real Madrid player and I don’t talk about players from other clubs,” Mourinho told reporters ahead of today’s Europa League qualifier against Bulgarian side Lokomotiv Plovdiv.

“It’s not my job to have contact with agents and I don’t want to comment. I don’t comment on hypothetical stuff.

“I tried to sign him during my time at Real Madrid and the president followed my instinct and knowledge and the season I left, he brought Gareth to the club. That’s no secret and Gareth knows that.”

Bale had said earlier this month that he would be open to a move back to the EPL if Real sanctioned a transfer.

Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett said yesterday that the Welshman was “close” to sealing a move to Spurs but the deal is “complicated.”

Bale has been frozen out by Real manager Zinedine Zidane.

Manchester United has also expressed an interest in Bale but it sees him as a back-up option should it fail to agree a fee with Borussia Dortmund for England international Jadon Sancho.

That has left Spurs in pole position to sign the player who left the club for a then world-record fee of 85 million pounds (US$132 million) in 2013.

When asked about Tottenham’s move for Bale, Barnett said: “It’s close but not done,” adding “it’s a complicated deal.”

Bale has two years left on a contract that pays him around 30 million euros (US$35.52 million) a year at Real.

Real is pushing for a permanent transfer that could see Spurs pay next to nothing up front for the 31-year-old, with various performance-related bonuses added on.

Spurs would prefer a loan move that involves Real covering a portion of the player’s wages.

“No problems, the clubs are negotiating,” added Barnett.

Bale has won the UEFA Champions League four times and two La Liga titles during his time in Spain, but his turbulent relationship with Zidane has seen his role significantly reduced in recent years.

Spurs have also been linked with Real left back Sergio Reguilon, with British media reporting the 23-year-old Spain international is set to make the switch for 30 million euros.

Mourinho added that he has informed club chairman Daniel Levy about his transfer plans “three or four times” and that players could also leave Spurs before the transfer window closes on October 5.

“A squad is a puzzle and when a new signing completes the puzzle it’s great for the team,” the Portuguese manager added.

“Three more weeks, the market is open both ways. I think in football you have to be always waiting for something to happen. Let’s see what happens to us. I never liked to start the competition with an open transfer window.”


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