Guillem Balague rules out Gareth Bale return to Tottenham Hotspur

Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague has dismissed the possibility of Tottenham Hotspur re-signing Gareth Bale during the winter transfer window. The Wales international has found himself out-of-favour under Zinedine Zidane this term, and this has spread speculation of him pursuing a new challenge in the summer.

Spurs had a first-refusal clause inserted during Bale’s record move to Real Madrid back in the summer of 2013, but Balague appears to have ruled out their chances of luring the attacker back to north London. Mauricio Pochettino has previously spoken fondly about Bale, but Balague does not believe Spurs have the financial power to match Los Blancos’ demands.

During a Q&A session on Sky Sports, he said: “The interesting thing is that nobody knows if Zidane will be there next season, but both sides know that he is on the market and if he is on the market I don’t see many clubs able to pay the money he will cost. I don’t think he will go back to Spurs and he’s not a player for City. Manchester United perhaps will be the clear favourites as Mourinho is a fan, maybe Chelsea, but I don’t know of any interest from them just yet.”

Aside from Spurs, United have been regularly linked with a move for the former Southampton graduate, but Jose Mourinho could bypass an approach in the summer after stressing that he won’t be reinforcing his attack front further at the end of the season.

In this case, Chelsea and probably Arsenal remain contenders for his signature, and the former could negotiate a deal, though Los Blancos may involve an unwanted negotiation regarding Eden Hazard, which may unsettle the existing squad altogether.

Bale has failed to start any of the last three matches for Los Blancos, and this includes the Champions League round of 16 first leg versus Paris Saint-Germain, where he came on as a 68th-minute substitute for French striker Karim Benzema.