The lack of starts Gareth Bale has had since returning to Tottenham has led Roy Keane to question whether Jose Mourinho actually wanted to sign the Real Madrid winger in the first place.
Indeed, the forward was an unusued substitute once again on Sunday as Tottenham recorded a 3-1 win at Sheffield United.
However, Bale’s failure to make the starting XI led to a heated debate between Keane and fellow pundit Graeme Souness.
Speaking before the clash at Bramall Lane, the two have labelled his situation as “strange” and “bizarre”.
“It’s strange that he’s involved, on the bench, suggesting he’s OK,” said Souness. “OK [he] can’t truly be match fit but good for 15 minutes, half an hour.
“Start him, give him 45 minutes. There’s not attempt to get him match fit.”
Keane then added his own theory and said: “I start to worry if Mourinho really wanted him. Maybe it was the chairman that brought him in because…not to be given many minutes.
Speaking about Bale recently, Mourinho said he still hopes to see the best of the forward.
“Of course he arrived injured and he was injured for the first month,” said the Spurs boss.
“Then step by step, the Europa League matches were helping him to get his condition.
“In the Premier League he has not played many minutes and then another small injury at Stoke where he was having a good first half.
“He’s now coming back, it’s not an easy process. Everybody knows the past couple of seasons at Real Madrid were not easy for him.
“But let’s go step by step and try to get the best out of him.”
Bale exit claims made
Bale’s lack of minutes for Tottenham has led to mounting suggestions that his time at back at Spurs will be short-lived.
Real had hoped that the 31-year-old could revive his career in north London. The idea was for him to turn his loan into a permanent switch. That way Real could trim £650,000-a-week off their wage bill.
Real boss Zinedine Zidane wants to splash the cash in 2021, having not added to his squad last summer.
However, those plans look in serious disarray amid reports in Spain earlier this month. As per Mundo Deportivo, they claim Mourinho and Spurs have already decided against extending the arrangement.
In the article, they state ‘Bale doesn’t triumph at Tottenham’. They write Mourinho has already decided not to keep a player who ‘goes from injury to injury’.
Furthermore, they write that Bale has ‘not lived up to expectations’ during his second stint at Spurs.
With no chance of making the loan permanent, or even extending into a second season, Bale looks now to be facing an uncertain future.