REAL MADRID

Real Madrid transfer plan at risk as Gareth Bale struggles at Spurs

The situation following the return of the Welshman to the Premier League appears, thus far, not to be working for the key parties involved, and there are knock-on implications.

Madrid

Gareth Bale opened his Carabao Cup goal account on Wednesday - giving the usual suspects the chance to roll out the cold night in Stoke line (yes, we were one of them) - and that took the Welshman’s tally since rejoining Tottenham Hotspur to just three in all competitions. Not the return José Mourinho, the excited fans, nor much of the gushing media were expecting (it’s true some were more skeptical) but there was another party that has been left disappointed with the player’s progress to date. His parent club, Real Madrid.

Real Madrid’s Bale dilemma

On the positive side, since Bale left the Spanish champions in September the club has saved some money. Yes, they have been massively subsidising the eye-watering salary of another team’s resource, but with him unlikely to be getting much game-time under Zinedine Zidane, better to be paying some, rather than all, of the wages. Conversely, Spurs have added a significant chunk of that cost to their overall expenditure and they have hardly seen any benefit, due to injury and lack of form thereafter.

The goal scored against Stoke was bread and butter for Bale: a header from a measured Harry Winks cross that didn’t need his feet to leave the turf. It came in the 22nd minute of the match, in what is surely the fourth most important trophy, out of four, in the club’s sights this season. By the time the second half kicked off, Bale had been replaced by Son, and it was explained later by Mourinho that he had “felt something” at the end of the first half and had asked not to go back on.

Goal 3 | Tottenham Hotspur Welsh midfielder Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Stoke City.

598 minutes for Bale in 11 matches

Bale's numbers in his latest spell with Spurs can be explained across his 598 minutes played, those minutes coming in a very erratic manner. He has been involved in 11 games in three competitions (Premier League, Europa League and the Carabao Cup), but he has not finished a single one of those matches, scoring three goals along the way. The distribution of those minutes has been as follows: 393 in the Europa League (featuring in all six group games), 160 in the Premier League, plus the most recent 45 in the Carabao Cup.

His debut was delayed until 18 October due to the knee injury that he arrived with, and that cost him the chance to be involved in six games. He has sat on the bench for the entirety of four games, and Mourinho has not called him up to the squad on two other occasions.

Real Madrid's Mbappé worry

To say things have not gone to plan would be an understatement. Spurs were expecting what many called a ‘world-class’ addition to the team. Bale was looking to refind his best form, became a hero to the lily-white fans, and remind people - especially those located around 1,200 kilometres to the south - that he was still capable of delivering at the top level. For Los Blancos, as well as getting around 15 million euros off the wage bill for the season, they saw the loan move as a chance for the player to show enough to make a permanent move possible - whether remaining in north London or being taken on elsewhere.

This hasn’t happened, at least not yet as we edge closer to the midway point of the season, a subject of frustration in the Spanish capital.

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The 31-year old has a contract with Real Madrid until 2022. If no interested buyer can be summoned by next summer then it is more than likely that Bale would return to LaLiga, and with him, his full wage commitment. This could scupper any plans of bringing in the likes of Kylian Mbappé or Erling Haaland, something that had been targeted following the outlay for the new Santiago Bernabéu stadium.

What happens in the next six months in the twilight of the playing career of Gareth Bale could have profound implications for the fledgling futures of others.