Gareth Bale has become the main talking point after Tottenham games – even when he has not played.
Jose Mourinho was left fielding more questions about Bale after Tottenham ’s FA Cup defeat at Everton on Wednesday night because the Wales superstar’s absence has become one of football’s great mysteries.
Bale, 31, was the biggest coup of last summer’s transfer window and yet has started just two Premier League games and has become a source of embarrassment and frustration for Mourinho.
Embarrassment because the questions keep coming and frustration because Bale was brilliant for Tottenham in his first spell at the club, is British football’s most successful export after winning four Champions League trophies and yet looks a pale shadow of his former self.
Bale’s latest omission comes after he went for a scan on Monday as he did not feel right, trained on Tuesday but complained to the manager that he was not ready and yet still posted an Instagram picture captioned “Good session today” knowing he was not in the squad.
Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp claimed that Bale was too fragile during his spell in charge. “It was the same pattern every morning: Gareth would tumble and stay there, and the physios would all go running over,” recalled Redknapp.
“In the end I told them just to leave him alone. Gareth got up, got on with it and got better and better. It was all about building up his confidence.”
The same is happening now under Mourinho. It does seem as if Bale is not getting the game time to get his match sharpness. But has done little or nothing to justify being picked. It is the classic chicken and the egg scenario.
It is a one year loan deal, it will definitely come to an end this summer and yet Bale’s presence did give the club a lift when he first arrived, results improved – and yet we have never seen him get close to recapturing his glory days for Real Madrid or Spurs.
But while the Bale return has never worked out, the club actually think it will cost them around half of the reported £20m deal and, despite his contract at Madrid being worth £600,000-a-week, they are paying a small fraction of that figure and he is not even Tottenham’s top earner.