World record signing Gareth Bale was a Champions League and Copa del Rey winner in his first season at Real Madrid, but his second year is proving more challenging.
The Welshman is a target of abuse from his own fans in Spain, with Spanish newspaper Marca describing his nine game goal drought as a 'crisis'.
What happens between now and the end of the season could shape Bale's summer. If his form gets worse or does not improve, then the whistles from the Bernabeu crowd will increase, and he could begin to question his future in Spain.
The Telegraph reported yesterday how Manchester United could ramp up their pursuit of his signature, but a question we posed on the same day raised the question, why not Tottenham?
Our article looked at players Spurs could sell to finance at least half of the required funds to bring him back, while comments from Tottenham fans discussed the possibility that Real may not have paid the £86 million in full and some negotiating leeway could arise from that.
Bale was reported by The Standard to have said last year that he would love to return to Tottenham, and with Champions League football or not, if he is making a lifestyle and footballing choice to return from Spain, his former club are sure to be high on his list whatever Manchester United try to do.
Here is a look at several comments from Tottenham supporters in response to our article, discussing the possibility of a blockbuster Bale return this summer or in the future...
Tottinghamboss: "I reckon there's a big part of Bale that would want to return to Tottenham. He still speaks really highly of the club, saying that he was unbelievably happy there and that it was tough to move etc. Madrid fans are used to winning everything under the sun and demand that every one of their players has the game of their life every time they step on the pitch, which is ridiculous. Spurs fans were always more forgiving and backed him every match, at Tottenham he had fans singing his name week in week out and now he has a bunch of fickle nobs booing him every game.
"Madrid still owe Spurs around £50m from the Bale and Modric deals and Spurs have players that could be sold on to make up the rest. Bale's wages would be a bit of an issue but you never know. In theory it could happen, but I doubt it will. Tottenham would challenge for the title if he came back. Bale is a 25+ goal a season player, so is Kane. It'd also make Kane a better player if Bale joined - teams would go back to double/triple marking Bale which would mean that Eriksen and Kane would have a lot more space.
"I'm going to keep dreaming!"
jgusa: "Someone once said, Anything you can imagine is possible! Imagining Bale playing with Kane, Prichard and Ericksen up front is heady stuff!!"
Matt88008: "I would expect that Levy had a clause inserted in Bale's contract with Real giving us first right of refusal for his return. It is possible, if Levy was super shrewd, that Bale's pre-emptive return may even have had a price attached to it. Either way, if Bale wants to bale (pun intended!), I think we genuinely would have a chance of re-signing him. His wages could be financed by the departure of other aforementioned players, plus a signing bonus. No way is Lloris any part of the deal at any price, but the other 4 could all be used to finance the deal, for sure. Mostly, it would be down to Gareth, but I think if he were to leave Real there is a genuine chance he could return to us."
E17Ender: "'IF' Levy offered Bale a way back to Spurs on half his present wage, I think he would bite his hand off.
"For Bale I believe home is where the heart is, many players do well in the first season away, new country, new friends, new life, but once you are used to that, the job is the same, the pressure is more and maybe your wife (and you) miss home and family.
"I still remember Harry R saying, when there was a short break in the season, most players went off for some sun, Gareth went home to Wales."
lemmythelurch: "I'd love to have him back but I would imagine he would want a Champions League club not a Europa League club."