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Will Gareth Bale remain at Tottenham?

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Tottenham Hotspur’s Welsh midfielder Gareth Bale looks at his phone as he leaves the ground after the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at White Hart Lane in north London on May 19, 2013. Tottenham missed out on Champions League qualification to Arsenal despite Gareth Bale’s 90th-minute winning goal. AFP PHOTO / IAN KINGTON RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

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Every transfer window has its saga, with summers’ drama being particularly long, hot and drawn out. One of 2013’s longest running “will he / won’t he?” storylines is that of Gareth Bale, whom almost no one expected would be wearing a Tottenham Hotspur kit by the end of August. However, it now seems that the Welsh winger just might remain in London, as transfer negotiations with Real Madrid have begun to break down.

Just a week ago, speculation swirled about the Spanish side’s willingness to pay £100m for Bale. But then something funny happened. Real Madrid set off on a preseason tour of the United States, participating in the inaugural International Champions Cup and pretty well thrashing their opposition in each match. Watching the final against Chelsea, it was difficult to comprehend why, exactly, Real were so dead set on adding Bale to their side. Luka Modric, another former Spurs man, ran circles around the Blues, while Cristiano Ronaldo was up to his old tricks again. Just for fun, Los Merengues then dismantled Inter Milan on Saturday, ending their preseason with six of seven games won.

Previously, Real Madrid felt pressured to up their star power, particularly after Barcelona signed Neymar earlier this summer. But the successful preseason seems to have loosened the tension a bit. On Thursday, club president Florentino Pérez stated that £100m “seemed like a lot” for Bale. Then the supporters questioned the need to spend quite so much money for the Welshman. Now manager Carlo Ancelotti has tossed in his two cents, stating that Bale is not in his plans for the future.

So what now? With Manchester United having yet to make any big signings this summer, and possibly poised to lose Wayne Rooney as well, it seems natural that the Red Devils would at least attempt to secure Bale’s signature. It would certainly bolster the supporters and quiet their mumblings about the early days of David Moyes’ reign. But price remains an obstacle, and if Daniel Levy is truly set on £100m, it’s unlikely Bale will end up in a United kit. In addition, Bale has expressed his reluctance to move to Old Trafford. But if Real Madrid are truly out of the race, and United don’t step in, there are few options left -- which is exactly what Tottenham wanted all along.