Tottenham sealing Gareth Bale transfer would be a game-changing coup and one in the eye for Man Utd

FOR many, it would be a dream come true.

The ultimate return home. An absolute game-changer.

And it is not just Jose Mourinho who is desperate to see Gareth Bale back in a Tottenham shirt at a club where, as we know, it is “All or Nothing”.

Indeed, ever since the Welsh wonder left White Hart Lane for Real Madrid and £86million in 2013 — at the time a world-record transfer — the vast majority of Spurs fans have been wondering if he might contemplate a return.

For them, much as they revere Harry Kane as “one of their own”, re-signing Bale would represent another type of statement altogether.

Not only for Kane’s likely new golf partner, either.

With Mourinho’s squad licking their wounds after Sunday’s debacle against Everton, seeing Bale and his ponytail back in North London would banish the doubts and send a signal that the club remains upwardly mobile.

Where Bale has become the Aunt Sally for Bernabeu supporters — first to be blamed, last to be praised — he knows he remains idolised for his feats at Spurs.

They would be signing British football’s most successful export, a four-time Champions league winner, one who really wants to start winning trophies again.

On at least two previous occasions, as Bale’s relationship with Zinedine Zidane and a hostile Madrid media withered and died, the Spurs faithful had kidded themselves it was going to happen.

Now, with Mourinho pushing Daniel Levy’s buttons, the Spurs chairman is aware that even taking Bale back on loan — beating Manchester United to the punch — could alter the entire mood around N17, so the salivating can begin for real.

Levy, of course, always wanted to keep the option alive.

That was why as a condition of the original deal he insisted that, for the first six years of Bale’s stay in Madrid, Spurs would have first option on his future if any Premier League club agreed a deal.

Levy wanted to lose Bale as little as his then-boss — once Mourinho’s right-hand man before the pair fell out in spectacular style —­ Andre Villas-Boas.
But Levy recognised Bale’s heart was set on Madrid, the club he had always wanted to play for.

Levy was determined to ensure the maximum price for the swap of one white strip for another.

He did, too. Not only a fee that was officially £74m — to keep Cristiano Ronaldo happy — yet was actually, with Madrid paying over three years, closer to £86m.

But also that clause, giving Spurs the right to outbid any Prem rival who reached agreement with Madrid for Bale’s services, although it ran out in June last year.

Levy also knew it was likely that United would be the rival club.

After all, the Old Trafford side coveted Bale during his first spell at Tottenham.

It is not unfair to suggest Welsh squad get-togethers were seen as a chance for Ryan Giggs to whisper sweet nothings about what his fellow winger could achieve under Sir Alex Ferguson.

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Bale, to his credit, resisted. He made it clear he was not looking to leave Spurs for any Prem rival, that only Europe’s greatest club would persuade him to move on.

Bale may now wonder if he is being seen as a short-term alternative until Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can finally land Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.

But where Bale has become the Aunt Sally for the Bernabeu supporters — the first to be blamed, the last to be praised — he knows he remains idolised for his feats at Spurs.

Tottenham fans revelled in watching him grow from the gangly colt who could literally not win a game — he played 25 matches over more than two years, under three managers, before finally tasting a Prem victory — into a global superstar.

Younger supporters will have been told by their parents about those two nights against Inter Milan, “Taxi for Maicon”, the lung-busting runs and blistering finishes, the way he carried his team with fearless self-belief.


For all parties, it looks the better deal. United may offer history and cash. Yet if he could bring silverware to Spurs, even at 31, it would ensure his status as a Tottenham immortal, a true legend of the Lane.

For Levy, too, it would be a coup — and one in the eye for United.

Levy has brooded over United’s raiding parties, increasingly angry as he was powerless to prevent Michael Carrick and then Dimitar Berbatov being enticed away. So beating United to Bale would really matter.

Arguably, though, it would matter even more to Mourinho, proof that he remains the silver-tongued managerial superstar.

Mourinho knows landing Bale would alter the dressing room dynamic instantly. A proven winner, joining a side that knows it has under-delivered in those seasons of near-misses under Mauricio Pochettino.

It shows public faith in the Mourinho project.

For Bale a £1billion stage to strut his stuff, to prove Zidane wrong, in front of ­— at some point — an adoring audience who are 100 per cent on his side and the chance to make sure he is at peak fitness for Wales’ Euro adventure next summer.

Time for a new banner, maybe.

“Tottenham. Wales. Golf.” Stuff Madrid.

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