Gareth Bale could be heading back to the Premier League on the back of his least productive season in more than a decade.
Representatives for the Wales international are understood to be working on a deal that would take the 31-year-old forward back from Real Madrid to Tottenham.
Bale has fallen out of favour at the Bernabeu and last season played just 1,092 minutes in LaLiga – the equivalent of little more than 12 full games – and scored only twice. He started just one of their last 14 games as they won the title.
Not since he was a 19-year-old at Tottenham, when he played for just 993 minutes in the Premier League and did not score, has he contributed so little.
These statistics continue what has been a notable decline in recent seasons for a player justifiably regarded among the world’s best when he signed for Real in an £85.3million deal in 2013.
Over the past five campaigns, Bale has spent an average of just 1,571 minutes on the field per season in LaLiga, which is only 46 per cent of the total available game time of 3,420 minutes.
This is a sharp drop from his first two seasons in Spain when he played for more than 2,000 minutes in each.
In his debut 2013-14 campaign, Bale played 2,070 LaLiga minutes and scored 15 goals and he followed that up with 2,582 minutes and 13 goals the following season.
In terms of goals, Bale’s most productive season was the 19 he netted in 2015-16 but his game time fell to 1,741 minutes that year. Scoring 16 goals from 1,803 minutes was also a reasonable return in 2017-18, and statistics from that campaign can be enhanced by the memorable double he scored in the Champions League final against Liverpool.
However, when referring to figures alone, none of these can match those of his brilliant final two seasons at Tottenham.
In 2011-12, he played 3,218 Premier League minutes for Spurs, the most of his career in a senior league competition, and scored nine goals.
He exploded the following year, scoring a personal best 21 goals from 2,925 minutes.
It is perhaps these happy memories of Spurs that would make the London club the ideal place to reignite his career.