Gareth Bale has been ruled out for a “few weeks” with his mega move to Tottenham in danger of becoming a big money mistake.
Wales superstar Bale, 31, arrived at Tottenham in the summer when his loan move from Real Madrid was lauded as one of the transfer coups of the season.
But Bale has started just one Premier League game, played a total of 599 minutes and is now expected to miss the club’s next four games with a calf injury.
That injury was suffered at Stoke in the Carabao Cup last Wednesday and is likely to mean he missed the games with Fulham, Leeds, Brentford in the Carabao Cup semi final and the FA Cup tie at Marine on January 10.
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said: “I wouldn't say it's serious but I'd say a few weeks. I don't expect him to be fit for Fulham and also I have my doubts that Lucas Moura and Vinicius can be fit for Fulham.”
Bale’s return to Spurs was an emotional homecoming as he left White Hart Lane for Spain in 2013 for a record breaking £85m but his debut was delayed while he overcame a knee injury from his time at Real Madrid.
The deal is believed to have cost in the region of £20m for the season in terms of a loan fee plus wages while there was also talk of extending the agreement.
But Bale – the most successful British export of all time having won four Champions League trophies in Madrid – has struggled to live up to expectation.
Bale has managed three goals, just one in the Premier League, but most of his eight starts have come in the Europa League and clearly he was not brought back to be a bit-part player.
He has struggled for match sharpness since his return and this latest setback is a body blow for Mourinho who wanted to put him in a forward line with Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son.
It could also have a knock-on effect as reports in Spain suggest that Real Madrid may recall Bale to try and sell him… but Tottenham may not be interested in a permanent transfer.
There could also be ramifications for Dele Alli who has been an outcast under Mourinho this season, may be hoping that Paris Saint Germain come back for him in January after failing to get him in the summer but it remains to be seen if Spurs would sanction it if Bale is out.
Meanwhile, Mourinho has praised born-again midfielder Tanguy Ndombele but the France star – who is enjoying a renaissance this season after being on his way out in the summer – must still work on his fitness to complete games rather than always be substituted.
Mourinho said: “There are players that naturally they have different qualities than others. Some players are very physical, some are very intense. Others are more explosive but they don't last for 90 minutes. Or they have difficulties lasting 90 minutes.
“In his case, he's adapting to a league that is not new, new, new for him but let's forget last season where he didn't play much and he had lots of injuries.
“And this season I believe to play at this intensity and to give the team what it needs with and without the ball, it's not easy for him to last 90 minutes.”
Mourinho also expects a tough difficult test against Fulham and added: “It's always tough. Independent of results, it's always tough and of course Fulham now, they're playing in a different way, they forgot some of the principles they believed in.
“They have new principles of play, they are getting very positive results and it's going of course to be difficult.”
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