Jose Mourinho claims he tried to sign Gareth Bale as Real Madrid manager
Almost a decade later, he may soon get his man
Jose Mourinho has claimed he wanted to sign Gareth Bale for Real Madrid, amid reports of a possible return to north London for the winger.
Following a slow, painful breakdown in the relationship between Bale and current Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, the Spanish champions are now very keen to offload him and are even prepared to subsidise half of his £600k weekly wage.
Talks are currently ongoing with Tottenham over a potential loan move that would see Bale return to Spurs after seven years in the Spanish capital.
And Mourinho sounds vert enthused by the ideal of bringing the 31-year-old back to White Hart Lane, claiming he tried to sign him during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.
"I tried to sign him for Real Madrid which was not possible to do during my time there," Mourinho said in his Wednesday press conference. '
"But the president followed my instinct and my knowledge and the season I left he brought Gareth to the club.
"There is no secret on that. Even Gareth knows that. But I'm not going to speak about him anymore because he is a Real Madrid player."
Bale ended up joining Real Madrid in 2013 for a whopping £85m fee, and got off to a great start in Spain, before injuries and a frosty relationship with Zidane saw him become the world's best paid substitute. His fall out with Madrid was best displayed by his enjoyment at holding a fan's 'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order' banner after a Wales international last autumn.
Bale's agent, Jonathan Barnett, has said his return to Spurs is "close but not done. It's a complicated deal."
Tottenham defender Eric Dier said Bale's return would be cause for celebration among fans but refuses to get swept up in the emotion of it all.
"From the fans’ point of view, when you’re linked with a player of that level, it’s extremely exciting for any club," Dier said. "For me personally it doesn’t really effect me in any way. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time.
"There’s constantly speculation about people going different places, different talk in football every day."
Meanwhile, Tottenham are close to securing the signing of Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilón after Manchester United, previously the favourites to sign him, refused to accept a buy back clause as part of the deal.