Jose Mourinho hints at Gareth Bale transfer as Tottenham boss reveals he tried to sign Welshman while at Real Madrid

JOSE MOURINHO hinted Gareth Bale could be the missing piece of the puzzle at Tottenham – as he went all cryptic at the prospect of the Welshman’s return.

The Spurs boss refused to comment directly on his club’s bid to re-sign the Real Madrid superstar on a season-long loan.

He said: “A squad is a puzzle and when a new signing completes the puzzle it’s a great feeling for the team.”

SunSport revealed yesterday that Tottenham are in talks to land Bale – who left for the Bernabeu in 2013 for a then-world record fee of £86million.

But when asked about his return, Mourinho said: “Gareth Bale is a Real Madrid player and I don’t comment on players from other clubs.”

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The Spurs boss did reveal he tried to sign Bale when he was in charge of Real Madrid, adding: “It was not possible to do it in my time there and the season after I left they brought Bale to the club.”

Tottenham would pay around £20m to take thir former star back on loan.

But they know they now have to move quickly as rivals Manchester United are attempting to seal a season-long loan for the former Southampton trainee – who can leave Real Madrid after being frozen out by their manager Zinedine Zidane.

Jonathan Barnett, the player's agent, insists there are vital details still to be hammered out in talks between the three parties.

He told AFP: "It's close but not done. It's a complicated deal."

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Bale's £650,000-a-week wage bill is thought to be a major negotiating topic in the loan deal.

Spurs, who are also in talks to sign Real left-back Sergio Reguilon, want Real Madrid to continue to pay a large chunk.

Bookies stopped taking bets on the transfer on Wednesday.

Having shortened the odds as low as 1/6, Ladbrokes announced at lunchtime that they had suspended the market.

But Spurs fans are unlikely to see Bale back in their shirt for a month – even if he completes a stunning return to the club in the next 48 hours.

The earliest the brilliant winger is likely to be free to make his second debut for the North London side would be October 17 – a clash with bitter rivals West Ham – as a result of Covid-19 quarantine rules and another international break.

Tottenham welcome back Giovani Lo Celso for tomorrow’s Europa League qualifier at Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Bulgaria.

But Japhet Tanganga remains sidelined with injury and fellow defender Serge Aurier is a doubt after picking up a knock in training.

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