Soccer

Bale Is Back: Tottenham Brings Its Former Star Home, With Both in Dire Need of a Boost

Gareth Bale has returned to Tottenham

Seven years ago, Gareth Bale left Tottenham, becoming the most expensive player in the world at the time as he joined Real Madrid. On Saturday, he returns to complete a loan move back to Spurs, a deal that ends his own weird personal exile from the game and, Tottenham will hope, gives a much-needed boost to a season that started lethargically with a deeply worrying 1–0 defeat to Everton.

The narrative appeal of Bale’s return to North London is obvious. He is the prodigal son, the player who first transformed Spurs into a side that could compete in the Champions League. He’s back to try to arrest the slide that began with a lack of investment as funds were diverted to the construction of the new stadium, continued with the dismissal of Mauricio Pochettino and has continued even further with the drab functionality of the José Mourinho days.

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