Jose Mourinho refuses to answer Gareth Bale transfer question as Tottenham move close

Jose Mourinho remained tight-lipped about Gareth Bale’s imminent arrival even though his return to Tottenham is virtually signed, sealed and delivered. And the lift could not come soon enough after Tottenham came close to an embarrassing Europa League exit against Lokomotiv Plovdiv and only rescued a 2-1 win after their Bulgarian opponents were reduced to nine men on Thursday evening.

The mood should have been buoyant going into the game after a hectic 48 hours of negotiations saw Tottenham thrash out a deal with Real Madrid worth around £20m to pay for a loan fee and a share of the Wales international’s wages for the next 12 months.

Rael Madrid team-mate Sergio Reguilon will also be on the plane after the pair underwent medicals on Thursday in Madrid, with a formal announcement expected shortly after they land.

MUST READ: Tottenham ‘to announce Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon tomorrow’

But in the mean time, Mourinho remained as guarded as ever when quizzed about the Welshman’s imminent return to north London.

“I cannot comment,” he said. “I don’t comment on something I don’t know.

“Until I am told Gareth Bale is a Tottenham player I respect he is a Real Madrid player, so I am not going to comment.”

By contrast, Mourinho was surprisingly upbeat about Tottenham’s struggle to win the match.

“When they scored it was a moment for them to dream and a moment for us to fear for our future in the competition,” he said.

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“It was great emotion and good for the players to feel the dramatic situation of there being 10, 15 minutes to go and losing 1-0.

“When we scored the penalty, I was not even panicking about killing the game in 90 minutes because if we had gone into extra time, it would have been impossible for them to hold us for 30 minutes.

“But we got the second and it was game over and the last feeling was the happiness of going to the next round.”

Prior to the trip to Bulgaria, Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier said of the possibility of Bale coming back: “There’s nothing in the [players’] WhatsApp group.

“There is a lot of speculation and nowadays it is impossible not to see it but it is not really for me to speculate on.

“He is still in the Real Madrid dressing room. I really can’t talk about a player from another team. It has got nothing to do with me.

“I am sure from the fans’ point of view when you are linked to a player of that level it is exciting for any club.

“For me personally it doesn’t really affect me in any way. It is not the first time and it won’t be the last time, there is constantly speculation about different people going different places.

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“Every day people are trying to fill the newspapers and websites. It doesn’t really affect me in any way, I am used to it.”

Asked about the need for new faces in the dressing room, Dier added: “I disagree to be honest.

“Since I have been back for pre-season I feel like there is a lot of new blood in the dressing room.

“Steven Bergwijn has been here six months, Gedson Fernandes six months, Pierre has just arrived, Matt [Doherty] has just arrived.

“I already feel it is a different dressing room to the one I arrived in when I first arrived. I think there are only Hugo [Lloris] and Harry [Kane] left from that group.

“Jan [Vertonghen] and Michel [Vorm] leaving, there were kind of the last ones of that group. I already feel like there is a very different dynamic than last season.”

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