Tottenham have conceded defeat in their ambitious ploy to bring Gareth Bale back to the club.
Sportsmail revealed on Thursday how Spurs had held talks with Real Madrid over the possibility of re-signing the Wales international, though there was pessimism over their chances primarily due to Bale’s mammoth £600,000-per-week wages.
Nevertheless, the north London club did make a genuine effort to clinch what would have been the most shocking transfer of the January window.
Tottenham, it is understood, even went to the extent of sending representatives to Madrid to negotiate a potential deal with their Real counterparts.
With Bale reluctant to take a pay cut – and Spurs knowing they couldn’t match his wages – the Premier League club knew they had to be creative in structuring a deal that would suit all parties.
One option would have seen Tottenham pay Real a fee of around £45million for Bale, which would then be paid directly back to the Welshman, whose current deal expires in 2022, with Tottenham then paying the attacker the shortfall in his £31million salary over a two-and-half-year deal.
There was a degree of hope as late as Thursday that a deal was possible but the finances attached to the deal ultimately proved too prohibitive.
Jose Mourinho was fully behind the club’s attempts to sign Bale having identified the Southampton academy graduate during his time at Manchester United.