Gareth Bale’s agent has told Sky Sports News the forward is as close as he has ever been to leaving Real Madrid since his then world-record transfer in 2013, with Tottenham edging closer to reaching an agreement.
Bale’s advisors are talking to Spurs about a potential loan move from Real.
It is understood Bale would like to return to Spurs – where he spent six seasons between 2007 and 2013 – if a deal can be agreed with Real Madrid.
“There’s a long way to go on some issues, but without doubt Gareth is closer to leaving Madrid than at any time in last seven years,” Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, told Sky Sports News.
“The deal is complicated, but there’s reason to believe a deal is close and things could move very quickly if discussions continue to go well.”
Spurs head coach Jose Mourinho did not want to be drawn on the club’s pursuit of Bale when fielding questions ahead of Thursday’s Europa League qualifier against Bulgarian side Lokomotiv Plovdiv.
But when asked if Bale is a player he admires, Mourinho said: “I tried to sign him for Real Madrid which was not possible to do during my time there. 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 [my admiration of the player], I think even Gareth knows that.”
However, it is understood that Mourinho, having received permission from Madrid to open discussions, has spoken to Bale, explaining how he will play a pivotal role in his system if, as expected, his move to north London becomes a reality.
“Gareth has spoken to Jose and explained how Spurs have a special place in his heart,” said Barnett.
Bale remains in Madrid for now but is believed to be excited by the progress which has been made.
Agreement has been reached on many of the key financial issues – although there is still crucial work to be carried out on what is understood to be a complicated negotiation.
Having earned more than any other British footballer, the financial aspects of his deal, including his image rights, need to be agreed by a number of parties.
It is thought unlikely that Bale, who earns in excess of £600,000-a-week, will take a pay cut as part of any deal and that Tottenham are the only club presently in discussions with the 31-year old Welsh international.
Real would prefer Bale to leave on a permanent deal.