Jose Mourinho admitted it will be third time lucky for him with Gareth Bale.
Mourinho tried to sign Bale when he was in charge of Real Madrid, again when he was at Manchester United and now he is set to get his wish at Tottenham.
This was Mourinho making it very clear that he wants Bale, he is fully supportive of the signing and that his squad desperately needs an injection of pace, dynamism and star quality.
The figures involved are mind boggling but, in keeping with the Amazon documentary All Or Nothing, unless they go all in then they will end up with nothing. It is a huge gamble but a very exciting one.
Tottenham boss Mourinho was asked about his attempts to sign 31-year-old Bale when he was in charge at Old Trafford and underlined his admiration for the Wales forward.
“Even before that, I tried to sign him for Real Madrid which was not possible to do during my time there,” said Mourinho. “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 that. Even Gareth knows that. But I’m not going to speak about him anymore because he is a Real Madrid player.”
There was just enough there from Mourinho on Tottenham’s transfer target quickly followed by an answer referring to his cameo role in the TV comedy show Ted Lasso about a US coach who takes over an English football team.
Mourinho has a reputation for getting the best out of ageing players, not being afraid to bring in superstar names like he did with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at United. So what does he see in older, experienced players like Bale?
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“It’s a clever question but I don’t have a clever answer for you,” said Mourinho. “Like I taught Ted Lasso: It’s better not to speak.”
However, this is the most unlikely of signings because it feels like in every other window since Bale’s £85m transfer to Real Madrid in 2013, Tottenham have been linked with a move to bring him back.
And every time, the same denials have come back of him being too expensive, they want to go with younger players and move forward rather than go back.
That is perhaps what makes this deal still seem such an unlikely one because, after all, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has gained a reputation for being frugal in the transfer market, resisting going for big names and putting his faith in big names.
When Tottenham were linked with Juventus star Paulo Dybala last summer, the suspicion was that it was a deal which was never going to happen but at least it gave the impression they were trying. Now they really are going for it.
If you looked at Tottenham’s defeat against Everton on Sunday, you could understand why as they need something to lift a mood of negativity and if Spurs fans are not sure on Mourinho then bringing back Bale is surely a game changer.
There must also be the hope that Bale can bring the best out of other players and, in particular, Dele Alli. Clearly, Spurs will have to sell to finance Bale but it Alli is not in the equation even if the midfielder was substituted at half time against Everton on Sunday.
Is signing Gareth Bale a good move for Tottenham? Have your say below.
Now the challenge is not just to get Bale into his team. But to fix the Alli conundrum. “That is my job to make these decisions and to try the best for the team when I am not happy with the performance. There is no story. It is just that,” said Mourinho.
“Dele's a very polite guy, very calm, I think he's a bit introspective. When you think a lot about things, so I think the way he reacted was Dele. Was quiet, was sad but in the end after the game he was just one of many.
“But again, I repeat, he's a good boy. Very, very polite and I never saw from him, in here, with myself, with the others, a strong reaction. A good boy, a really good boy.”
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