Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur are now leading Premier League rivals Manchester United in the race to bring Gareth Bale back to England from Real Madrid, according to ESPN.

The sight of this once magical wing wizard labouring during Wales’ Nations League clash with Finland, firing the wildest of shots into the Scandinavian sky before being withdrawn at half-time, must have brought a tear to the eye of Spurs fans everywhere.

Bale is persona non grata at Madrid these days and is understandably a little rusty.

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Bale started just 12 times as Real Madrid snatched the La Liga title back from Barcelona and, with Zinedine Zidane clearly not a fan, the 31-year-old needs to escape the Bernabau bench if he’s to remind everyone why he was once the world’s most expensive footballer.

According to ESPN, Manchester United are seriously interested in signing a player they missed out on seven years ago when he swapped Tottenham for Real Madrid in a historic £86 million deal.

The Spanish champions are willing to loan out their £600,000-a-week benchwarmer – and will even subsidise his monstrous wages to get Bale off the books.

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But while reports linking Bale with an emotional return to north London can usually be taken with a pinch of salt, it seems there’s more to this than mere paper talk.

ESPN claims there’s a real possibility the one-time Tottenham talisman could actually return to familiar surroundings after 251 games, 105 goals and four Champions League titles with Madrid.

“Having (Jose) Mourinho there is an amazing statement from the club. I think he’s a serial winner,” Bale told BT Sport last year, hailing Spurs’ decision to appoint the former Real boss as their coach.

“Tottenham want to win trophies and I don’t think there’s a better partnership than Mourinho and Tottenham to try to win some trophies.”

If James Rodriguez’s sublime performance for Everton against Tottenham is anything to go by, leaving Madrid could breathe fresh life into Bale’s stalling career.

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Tottenham Hotspur’s summer signings

  1. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

    £15 million; Southampton

  2. Joe Hart

    Free

  3. Matt Doherty

    £13 million; Wolves

  4. Sergio Reguilon

    £25 million; Real Madrid

  5. Gareth Bale

    Loan; Real Madrid

In other news, After agreeing Diallo deal, Southampton reportedly also want Premier League youngster on loan