Tottenham Hotspur loanee Gareth Bale looks as though he was signed despite Jose Mourinho not wanting him, ESPN pundit Craig Burley has speculated.
The 31-year-old rejoined Tottenham on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid in mid-September, a move which saw the media spotlight shine brightly on North London.
Bale wasn’t thrown straight into action as he was recovering from a knee injury on Wales duty prior to his switch to Tottenham, as well as being short of match fitness.
Several months on, however, and he’s still struggling for game time, with the bulk of his minutes coming in the Europa League.
In the Premier League, meanwhile, Bale has made just four appearances, and only one of those was as a starter.
On Wednesday night, the Welshman was once again an unused substitute as Spurs were held to a draw by Fulham in North London.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Mourinho opted to bring on Erik Lamela and Carlos Vinicius, with Bale continuing to warm the home bench.
And former Chelsea and Scotland midfielder Burley is of the opinion that Bale was a “Daniel Levy signing” and not someone Mourinho wanted at the club this summer.
“Gareth Bale, on the bench, I mean I could only imagine that Jose Mourinho didn’t want Gareth Bale at the club,” Burley told ESPN. “It must have been a Daniel Levy signing. Daniel Levy must have gone ‘here, I have got you, Gareth Bale’.
“Why else would he not play him? Or even utilise him in games that he needs to win? Why bother? It’s saying to me that somebody said to Mourinho ‘I will bring you Gareth Bale’ and he has said ‘Well, bring him in. I am not going to play him’.
“He is sat on the bench again, isn’t he? Are you trying to tell me Gareth Bale cannot change a game if he is fit? So, why is he not playing? It’s a head-scratcher.”
Admittedly, Bale has missed out on several Spurs games due to injury, sadly something that has affected him a lot in the past few years – he was out for a spell after being forced off against Stoke in the League Cup.
However, he did manage to get 25 minutes under his belt against Marine in the FA Cup last weekend and, as such, you’d have thought he could have been called upon against Fulham.
That said, it may not necessarily be a case of Mourinho not wanting Bale in the first place, but more a case of Mourinho not having worked with him enough and not trusting him enough to feature in games due to his injury issues.