Tottenham Hotspur head coach Jose Mourinho is said to be growing tired of Welsh winger Gareth Bale, who has been out on the fringes at the club ever since returning in September.
It was emotional to see Bale return to his former side on loan from Real Madrid, where he had been marginalised under Zinedine Zidane, but things haven't really been much better back at Spurs.
Injuries and a lack of form have restricted Bale to just 12 appearances in all competitions this season, four of which have come in the Premier League, and things hit a new low when a now-deleted video on Spurs TV appeared to catch Mourinho saying: “You want to stay here? Or go to Real Madrid and play no football?”
According to The Sun, Mourinho was speaking to assistant manager Joao Sacramento about a talk he had held with Bale recently, with the boss unconvinced by the Welshman's performances since returning to the club.
It is claimed that Mourinho wasn't exactly a fan of bringing Bale back to London as he felt Spurs already had enough options out wide, and there seemed to be evidence of that as Bale remained glued to the bench in Sunday's 3-1 win over Sheffield United.
Steven Bergwijn started the game and Lucas Moura was the man brought on to replace him, and Bale didn't even get garbage-time minutes as it was Davinson Sanchez and Carlos Vinicius brought on to run the clock down in stoppage time.
Mourinho appeared to send a subtle message to Bale and exiled midfielder Dele Alli after the game, praising goalscorer Tanguy Ndombele for his reaction to criticism and ability to fight his way back into the boss' plans.
“I have enough experience to say when a player is not playing very well, it is his responsibility," Mourinho said. “When a player turns things around and brings his performances to a very high level it is also his responsibility. It is a great example that the door is open.
“When a player is not playing he has to understand why - and has to try to understand how he can walk through that door even after a difficult period.
“Ndombele understood. The goal is amazing, but I don’t care about the goal, I care about the performance. It was magnificent. I give special credit to Tanguy for his will to train hard and his desire to win and earn a place in the team.”