Gareth Bale’s return to Tottenham could be via a loan swap with Dele

We’ve barely taken enough breath to fully process the bombshell news that Tottenham Hotspur is negotiations with Real Madrid for not only the return of Gareth Bale to his former club, but also the acquisition of left back Sergio Reguilon.

But the news isn’t stopping there. Oh no. According to Matt Law in the Telegraph, the deal that could bring Gareth home on a one year loan on subsidized wages could potentially have a pretty spectacular move in the other direction — a return one-year loan of Dele to the Bernabeu.

It’s the rarest of transfers — the loan swap. The article is behind a paywall, but that’s why we’re here. Buckle up, let’s dig in.

According to Law, one POTENTIAL option to would be to send Bale on loan to Spurs on a one year deal with Madrid subsidizing 50% of his £600k wages. That leaves Spurs on the hook for £300k/week. However, Dele would then return to Madrid on a similar one year loan, with Madrid paying all of his £150k/week salary.

The end result is Spurs get Bale for a season at £150k/wk. while Madrid end up with a year of Dele at full wages. What happens after that is anyone’s guess — it would depend on how both players are feeling (and performing) at their respective new clubs.

And wait — it could get wilder.

Another possibility is for both players to make permanent moves, but that would likely require Real having to pay a fee for Alli as he is seven years younger than 31-year-old Bale and still has four years remaining on his Spurs contract.

—Matt Law, the Telegraph

It’s very important here to say the following — these are listed as POSSIBILITIES, not certainties. Negotiations between Madrid and Tottenham are ongoing, and in the article Law is quite careful to say that these are topics of discussion, not finalities. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen a loan-swap in action, much less one this high profile involving a Premier League club. We don’t know if Levy rejected these out of hand, or what. Law, however, is suggesting that they are two ideas that have been discussed.

Certainly, something like this puts a substantial damper on my enthusiasm for a Gareth Bale return. As much as my little heart goes pitter-pat at the idea of Bale’s sensational return to North London, it actually stops a beat at the idea of cutting bait on a player like Dele, especially when the return is a 31-year old injury-prone player. It’s a deeply weird idea, and I really don’t like it.

Real Madrid is said to admire Dele and has inquired about him a number of times in the past. There’s some history there, and there have been murmurs that Dele may be a square peg in the round holes of Jose Mourinho’s tactics. Add to that the revelations from the Amazon “All or Nothing” documentary where Mourinho calls Dele “lazy” and a “bad trainer” and the aftermath of Sunday’s loss to Everton, where Mou subbed off Dele at halftime and afterwards called the entire team lazy. In that context, you start to wonder if there might be something to this after all.

This is a moving target. Nothing is set in stone at this point. We don’t know whether a Bale deal can be reached, but Law says there is willingness on both sides to come to some sort of an arrangement. It would certainly be something if the return of one significant player from Spurs’ past comes at the expense of one of its best players of the past five years.

UPDATE (4:45 pm): LOL NEVER MIND

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