When Real Madrid begin a pursuit of a player, there is usually only one outcome.
But, while players such as Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane have succumbed to advances from Madrid, there are plenty of reasons why Bale shouldn’t jump into a hasty decision. We look at some of them here.
If Bale were to decide to go to Madrid, there is uncertainty as to who will be in charge next season.
The reports coming out of Spain suggest José Mourinho will leave the club in the summer (via the Guardian). He is the longest-serving manager at the Bernabeu since Vicente del Bosque, but Real have gone through nine managers in the meantime.
If Mourinho does leave, there is little doubt that whoever replaces him would view Bale as a first-team player, but it’s far from ideal that the Real manager’s future constantly depends on immediate results.
Mourinho wrings what he can from clubs without much thought beyond his own legacy.
Whoever takes over from him will have an unenviable challenge, and Bale is best advised to avoid the aftershocks.
André Villas-Boas seems a safer bet and has already shown he can get the best from his most talented player.
In December, Mourinho summoned Radio Marca journalist Antón Meana to the club’s press office, and what followed was pure theatre.
The Portuguese manager then lambasted Meana after the latter suggested the manager had a spy in the dressing room. It led to an expletive-laden rant that was heard by several journalists.
Mourinho himself has admitted that disruptive influences are in the group.
Of course, egos exist at most top-level sports teams, but gigantic ones will be contended with inside the walls of the Bernabeu. It says something when even the most feted, best-paid player is unhappy at the perceived lack of a concerted campaign by the club to help him win the Ballon d’Or.
By all accounts, Bale is a down-to-earth, modest guy so it would be hard to see him choosing such a fractious environment in which to continue his development.
Spanish-based players may have completely dominated the 2012 FIFA World Team of the Year, but the irony is that two teams have won every La Liga for the past eight seasons since Valencia won the title in 2004.
And not only have they been far ahead of the rest, they have dominated to a ridiculous extent: Barcelona have dropped two league points this season and look to have another title sewn up in January; Real dropped 14 points last season and were an absurd 39 points ahead of Valencia who finished third.
Spain might be the only league in the world where finishing second is sometimes considered a humiliating underachievement.
It’s not exactly an appealing scenario when one considers that Bale is guaranteed even more adulation in England if he inspires Spurs to a place in the top four this season.
If Ronaldo follows his manager’s lead and leaves the club and Bale is chosen as his successor, the Welsh forward immediately sets himself up for a fall: a left-sided player potentially costing £60 million replacing the only player in the world who can rival Lionel Messi.
It’s an impossible task—even for a player as good as Bale.
It took more than three years before Bale was eventually able to establish himself as an attacker at Spurs and—more importantly—to convince Harry Redknapp and future managers that he is at his most dangerous when he is unhindered by defensive responsibilities.
Even so, there have been occasions when he has been used as a left-back—against QPR in a 2-1 win in the league back in September—but he no longer looks comfortable in that position.
If Ronaldo remains at Real, then the composition of the forward line might not automatically include a place for Bale—certainly not on the left from where the Portuguese phenomenon has scored most of his 174 goals in 172 games for the club.
Filling in at left-back is, presumably, not on Bale’s future agenda.
Follow John Kelly on Twitter @ JKelly1882