Gareth Bale Tottenham return remains unrealistic

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 30: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid CF looks on during the Real Madrid UEFA Open Media Day at Valdebebas training ground on May 30, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images )
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 30: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid CF looks on during the Real Madrid UEFA Open Media Day at Valdebebas training ground on May 30, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images ) /

Gareth Bale making a triumphant return to Tottenham Hotspur would make for a great story,  but it remains an unrealistic dream and little more.

The start of the 2016-17 Premier League season is less than a week away, and Tottenham Hotspur still, as of the typing of this sentence, have not acquired any noteworthy talents during the open transfer window. Spurs have been linked with a handful of rumors, most of which seemed to have little merit, and it appears the Tottenham squad that exists on August 8 will be the same one that faces Newcastle United on the first Sunday of the season.

Perhaps the wackiest transfer talk hovering over club football these days involves Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale making an unexpected and triumphant return to Tottenham before September rolls around. At first glance, one may assume even the notion of Bale leaving the Bernabeu for North London is little more than speculation created by hopeful Spurs supporters dreaming of the Welsh wonder once again burying world-class tallies for his former club.

One cannot, however, blame such fans for asking “so you’re telling me there’s a chance?” considering all of the stories floated out there over the past couple of weeks. As explained by Jack Rathborn of the Mirror, Spurs have the option to match a bid made by any Premier League team for Bale per the terms of the transaction that involved the 28-year-old completing his move to Spain in the summer of 2013. Per Naveen Ullal of International Business Times, former player and current analyst Ian Wright recently stated Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy should do “every single thing” to secure Bale’s return to Spurs.

The football math regarding Bale re-signing for Spurs is easy enough to complete. Bale has already won all there is to win with the Spanish giants. He has routinely spoke highly of his time at Tottenham and of Spurs in interviews. Tottenham have an influx of funds after selling Kyle Walker to Manchester City. Real, meanwhile, may need to free up a squad spot, not to mention some cash, if they’re serious about acquiring 18-year-old Monaco star Kylian Mbappe this summer. The matter is sorted, and Bale will return to Spurs, yes?

Just as with most situations in life, this is not so cut-and-dry. For starters, the transfer market is crazier this summer than ever before, one in which Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain for a fee reportedly worth over €220 million. Bale’s overall value isn’t nearly that high for multiple reasons, but it’s still difficult to imagine a scenario where either Manchester United or Manchester City would allow Tottenham to bring Bale back for anything short of €100 million.

Spurs have no history of even flirting with paying anything close to that amount for any one player, let alone for a footballer closer to 30 years old than to 25 and one with a deep injury history that goes all the way back to his days at White Hart Lane roughly a decade ago. The fee alone all but eliminates any chance Bale could rejoin Spurs before the end of the decade. Then, there’s the issue of his wages.

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Back in late June, Steve Bates of the Mirror wrote Everton midfielder Ross Barkley would have to be willing to accept a drop in salary from roughly £120,000-a-week to a figure under Tottenham’s “wage ceiling of £100,000-a-week” before Spurs put in a move for him. Last October, Ed Aarons of The Guardian reported Bale currently earns “£350,000 a week after tax” at Real.

There’s something to be said for the cliché that teaches money, alone, cannot buy happiness. That’s all well and good, but Bale still possesses the skills, not to mention the history, to be one of the highest-paid players in England if United are serious about landing him this month. The only feasible way Tottenham could complete this transfer shocker would be to sell at least one young star.

Harry Kane is 24. Dele Alli is 21. Christian Eriksen is 25. Who, among those three, would Tottenham fans choose to leave Spurs so the club could sign a proven commodity who may be in the twilight of his physical prime if he is unable to remain healthy for more than a few months at a time?

One thing we’ve learned this summer is to never say “never” until a transfer window closes. Maybe Tottenham will sell left back Danny Rose for a boatload of money and then use those additional funds to finalize a last-minute swoop for Bale en route to making him the face of Spurs before the club opens its shiny new stadium next summer and then begins what will, ideally, be a fruitful and long-lasting relationship with the National Football League.

Related Story: Christian Eriksen: Neymar replacement?

That probably won’t happen, though, so Tottenham fans everywhere may want to get used to the idea of Bale playing against Spurs at least twice a season for the foreseeable future.