Gareth Bale to Tottenham: Football Manager simulates the Welshman's return

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Gareth Bale is on the verge of making his return to Tottenham Hotspur. Some seven years after he made an £85 million switch to Real Madrid, the 31-year-old Welshman is expected to return to north London - initially on a season-long loan deal.

Bale's time at the Bernabeu certainly had both its ups and downs. He has won the Champions League on no less than four occasions during his time with Real - and Spurs fans will no doubt be hoping that their returning star can help propel the club back into Europe's elite club competition.

Just how much, though, should supporters really expect from Bale, a player who barely featured for Real last season following the break down of his relationship with manager Zinedine Zidane?

To help provide a glimpse into Bale's potential impact at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this season, football.london signed the Welshman for Spurs on Football Manager. The results, though, were not entirely promising.

The popular management title was used to simulate the 2020/21 season with Bale playing for Tottenham under current manager Jose Mourinho. Throughout the campaign, the winger played 34 times - and scored nine goals - across all competitions, failing to register a single assist.

By way of comparison, in the final season of his first real-life stint with the club (2012/13), Bale found the net 26 times in 44 games.

Bale's disappointing return during the simulated season can be somewhat explained by the number of injuries he suffered during it. Picking up a total of seven injuries over the course of the campaign, Bale spent more than four months on the treatment table. Now over 30, injuries are something that Tottenham - and the player himself - will no doubt be mindful of once his move is completed.

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When he was on the virtual field, though, Bale certainly did not disgrace himself. He made 21 Premier League appearances, contributing five goals and was a starter in every game that he played.

It must be said, however, that Bale was far from Tottenham's star performer. Son Heung-min, Giovani Lo Celso, Dele Alli and Harry Kane all outscored him during the season and his number of chances created would also be considered a disappointment.

In the final reckoning, though, Spurs did manage to seal fourth place (and the Champions League place that goes with it). It is fair to say that fans of the club would take that finish now if it were to be offered.

On the subject of Europe, it was there that Bale made his biggest impact during the simulated season. Averaging a rating of 7.38 across nine Europa League games, Bale also chipped in with three goals as Spurs made the semi-final of the competition, before being eliminated by Lazio.

Of course, as in-depth as Football Manager goes, it is only a simulation.

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