TOTTENHAM fans are unlikely to see Gareth Bale in their shirt for a month – even if he completes a stunning move back to the club in the next 48 hours.
Bale is edging close to making a dramatic return to Spurs on loan as he seeks a way out from his Real Madrid nightmare.
But though Daniel Levy is on the brink of sealing a complicated deal, SunSport understands the 31-year-old is still not planning to travel to London imminently.
And the earliest the brilliant winger is likely to be free to make his second debut for the North London side would be October 17 – a clash with bitter rivals West Ham.
There are complicated issues to thrash out in a contract that would see Real stump up a large chunk of his £650,000-a-week salary just to get him off their wage bill.
Until they are ironed out, Bale will remain in Madrid reporting for pre-season training with Zinedine Zidane’s squad.
Even if they are sorted by the weekend and Bale returns to the UK, he would then have to go into quarantine for 14 days under government rules to control Covid-19.
That would leave him unable to link up with Jose Mourinho’s squad until October 2, with Spurs facing a trip to Manchester United the following day.
It seems impossible for him to be considered for the match at Old Trafford, and then the Premier League season goes on the back burners for another international break.
Given his involvement with Wales, it would mean Bale would not be able to take part in full training with Mourinho and Spurs until the couple of days leading up to the home game against the Hammers on October 17.
So though Tottenham fans are struggling to contain their excitement, they will have to wait for a full month before they will see their hero back in the white shirt again.