Gareth Bale’s agent has confirmed Tottenham do not have a contractual option or clause that will allow them to automatically keep the Real Madrid forward on loan for a second season.
Bale will instead return to Madrid ahead of the new season and any future deal with Spurs, or indeed any other club, will have to be negotiated from scratch.
Bale was warmly welcomed by Spurs fans last autumn like a long-lost family member returning home. He endured a slow start as he struggled with early injuries and fitness, but a strong end to the season saw him finish with an impressive 11 Premier League goals in only 20 appearances.
The 31-year-old was therefore in good physical condition when it came to representing Wales at Euro 2020, which was thought to be a major motivating factor in securing a move away from Real Madrid so that he could be match sharp for the tournament.
But while Spurs fans may wish to have Bale for another season, new Real coach Carlo Ancelotti has spoken positively about potentially making room for him back in Madrid.
As far as agent Jonathan Barnett is concerned, any further loan deal or possible transfer will have to be a fresh set of negotiations.
“As I have said from the beginning, there is no option. Gareth has no agreements whatsoever. He is under contract to Real,” Barnett told the Evening Standard.
Barnett previously labelled it ‘rubbish reporting’ when rumours began circulating towards the end of last season that Bale was considering retirement in 2022 or sooner. His contract with Real is up in 2022, at which point he would be expected to move on unless there is a drastic change.
Meanwhile, Bale himself refused to answer questions about his international future after Wales were knocked out of Euro 2020 by Denmark, immediately ending his post-match interview when the subject was brought up and angrily walking away.
But the 31-year-old later clarified he intends to keep on playing for Wales for as long as his career in general lasts. He specifically mentioned the current World Cup qualifying campaign, which, if Wales get to the finals, would mean he plays on until at least the end of the 2022/23 season.
“I want to continue to play. People ask stupid questions all the time, but obviously, I love playing for Wales. I’ll play for Wales until the day that I stop playing football,” he told S4C.
“We’ve just started the World Cup campaign, and we need to take this experience into that. I feel like we have a very good way of playing when we play well and we need to keep that confidence high, keep playing football and I think we can qualify for the next World Cup.”