Bale deal is such a Real coup
TOTTENHAM legend Glenn Hoddle has warned the club's fans that they need to be prepared for a watered-down version of Gareth Bale after he sealed a return to the club from Real Madrid yesterday.
Bale has signed a one-year loan deal to end his increasingly fraught relationship with Real Madrid and their head coach Zinedine Zidane, with Hoddle telling the Sunday World that the return of the four-time Champions League winner to Tottenham gives their manager Jose Mourinho a real chance to end the club's long wait for silverware.
Spurs have not won a trophy since they lifted the League Cup in 2008 and have not been champions of England since 1961.
Yet former England and Spurs manager Hoddles suggests the Bale who shot to international prominence at the club prior to his £86m departure to Real Madrid in 2013 may not be on display as he looks to regain his form and fitness at the age of 31.
"We are all excited about this transfer, but Spurs fans have got to realise we are not going to see the Gareth Bale that left Tottenham or even the player that we saw winning trophies and scoring amazing goals every week for Real Madrid," stated Hoddle.
"He might not be that box to box player at this stage of his career.
"We might only see that kind of form from him in little spurts and I would have some concerns about the player we are going to see.
"If Gareth was a Formula 1 car, we would say he hasn't got a lot of miles on the clock over the last couple of years. We just don't know how his engine is.
"Will it run at the same pace as it did when Gareth Bale was one of the best players in the world? That is what we are waiting to find out.
"This is where Jose (inset) and the medical staff at Tottenham have got such an important job to get him fit, play him at the right time and get 30-plus games out of him at a high level this season.
"What I would hope that his lack of football over the last couple of years means he does have plenty left in his legs and plenty left to prove, so that has to be a positive for Spurs and Jose as they look to make this work."
Hoddle believes Bale may be used as an impact substitute by Mourinho, with the presence he would bring to a game if Spurs are in need of a lift giving the side an extra dimension.
"When you look down your bench and you are 1-0 down in a game, you need to have game-changers to call upon and Jose has that now," he added.
"Harry Kane might not be able to play every game this season so he could be an option from the bench, as might Lucas Moura, Dele Alli, Heung min-Son or Steven Bergwijn. That is some serious firepower and it has to be exciting for Mourinho to have that at his disposal."
Spurs unveiled Bale as their new signing alongside full-back Sergio Reguilón last night, with both players arriving at the club from Real Madrid in an audacious double swoop.
"I'm here to win trophies," declared Bale.
"I have won at lot since I was here before and it helps massively when you know you can do it when in big matches.
"I always hoped that one day I might return to Tottenham and this is the right moment to do it."
Southampton v Tottenham is live on BT Sport today and it is available to Sky customers in Ireland with a Sports Extra package.