It was the worst kept secret not only in London, but in all of England, but Gareth Bale has signed a one-year loan agreement to return to Tottenham Hotspur, 7 years after the Welshman left for the bright lights of Real Madrid. He along with fellow Madrid teammate Sergio Reguilon have been officially announced as new Spurs players on Saturday, one day before the club’s Matchday 2 contest against Southampton.
Over the past couple days, both Bale and Reguilon have been in England getting their medicals completed and putting pen to paper on their deals. Bale will be back at the club he called home from 2007 to 2013 for this season alone. The club will not need to pay anything to Madrid for his services, but they will have to cover at least 250 thousand pounds of the Welshman’s 600 thousand pound weekly pay, making him the club’s highest paid player. On the other hand, Reguilon moves to Tottenham on a permanent deal. He’s signed a 5-year deal with the club after Spurs agreed to pay around 25 million pounds to the reigning La Liga champions.
While this is only a loan deal for Bale, and he is expected back to Real Madrid next year, this move does symbolize the end of an era for both the Welsh forward and the biggest club in the world. On one hand, Bale was unbelievably successful at the Spanish capital. After moving from Tottenham to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2013 for a then record transfer fee, Bale appeared in 251 contests and scored 105 goals. Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema scored more times for Madrid during that span (2013-2020). Additionally, Bale was a part of some of the greatest squads in history, one that won 13 trophies including 4 Champions Leagues. In fact it was in the UCL where Bale was strongest, scoring 24 times during his Madrid career, including a legendary bicycle against Liverpool in 2018.
With that being said, Bale’s place at Real Madrid has been in question for the past few years, directly coinciding whether or not Zinedine is the manager. When he is, Bale struggles to find any playing time, and he’s seen bored on the bench. When Zidane wasn’t, Bale would still get less playing time than he probably should’ve, but he’s still be able to maximize those minutes. Now with his new, but recognizable environment, Bale could possibly find new life. He’s working under an evil genius manager in Jose Mourinho and he gets the benefit of playing on one of the most exciting attack lines in world football. He’ll be trying to score goals next to exciting wingers Lucas Moura, Steven Bergvijn, and Heung-min Son, and he’ll also get to line up with one of Europe’s premier strikers in Harry Kane.
The only question that now remains is whether or not Bale, and Reguilon, will help Tottenham reach that next level. Since they lost in the Champions League final back in 2019, the club has been inconsistent. Last season, the club did usher in their new mammoth stadium, but they also finished the 2019-20 campaign both with disappointingly quick exits in the EFL Cup, FA Cup, and Champions League, as well as a 6th place finish in the Premier League. This season has also started off auspiciously, after they lost their season opener to upstart Everton. Tottenham will have to wait for at least a few weeks to find out what Bale has left in the tank, as the newest Spur is nursing a minor knee injury.
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Featured Image – AP Photo/Sergei Grits, File