It will have been difficult for Tottenham supporters not to have been at least a little excited when Gareth Bale returned from Real Madrid in the last window.
Welcomed as a homecoming hero, away from all the unpleasantness in Spain, Bale was all set up to help Jose Mourinho push the Tottenham squad forward.
The Welshman arrived injured, yet that was largely glossed over.
So far, Bale has managed just 160 minutes of Premier League football, and whilst he’s more than doubled that in the Europa League, playing against the likes of Ludogorets, LASK and Royal Antwerp isn’t why Tottenham agreed to the loan deal.
The 31-year-old has missed Spurs’ last three matches due to calf problems, and Mourinho will hope the player can have a much bigger impact in the second half of the season.
Over in Madrid, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see an ‘I told you so’ attitude, but instead there’s worry. Los Blancos had hoped Bale would succeed so that Tottenham could sign him permanently next summer or another Premier League club would swoop in.
As it stands, Bale is the ‘club’s biggest headache’, report Marca. The Spanish newspaper say he now resembles more a retired footballer than the star he once was.
His performances ‘leave a lot to be desired’ and it’s even stated the chance of Tottenham extending the move has vanished.
Bale is used to criticism coming from Spain and he’ll surely remain determined to prove the media there, and Zinedine Zidane, wrong.