Mourinho appreciates Bale for praising him and was asked if he wants him back at Tottenham

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The Spurs boss has been quizzed on supposed interest in the Wales international, and has ruled nothing out heading towards the January window

Jose Mourinho refused to give a proper answer as he was asked if he wants Gareth Bale back at Tottenham although he did thank the Welshman for his words of praise.

A retracing of the Welshman’s steps to north London has been mooted for some time.

Bale left the Premier League for the Spanish capital back in 2013, with a record-breaking transfer seeing him join the ranks of ‘Galacticos’ at the Santiago Bernabeu.

There have been plenty of highs during his Blancos adventure, but criticism has also never been too far away.

Bale has struggled for form and fitness at times, while questions are forever asked of his commitment to the cause amid accusations of playing too much golf and not learning a new language.

Each passing transfer window brings with it a fresh round of rumours regarding his future, with January 2020 seemingly set to be no different.

Spurs would be expected to be in the mix if an exit door was opened in Madrid, with Bale still held in high regard by his former club.

Mourinho is also a fan and when pressed on whether he would be keen on doing a deal, the Portuguese merely told reporters with a smile: “Come on, I don’t need to answer.”

Reading between the lines of that comment could suggest that Tottenham would be open to speaking with Bale if the opportunity presented itself.

The Wales international has already stated his admiration for “serial winner” Mourinho and talked him up as the ideal candidate to deliver long-awaited silverware for an ambitious club.

Bale told BT Sport: “Having Mourinho there is an amazing statement from the club, I think he is a serial winner.

“If Tottenham want to win trophies then I don’t think there is a better partnership.”

Mourinho has welcomed that show of support, saying when asked for his take on the comments: “It is nice, I thank him. I didn’t know. If Gareth said that I’m really pleased.”

It now remains to be seen whether mutual admiration will lead to a working relationship.

Mourinho is expected to enter the winter market, with fresh faces required to aid the rebuilding project he has undertaken as successor to Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs.

He suffered his first defeat in that new role on Wednesday, with a return to former club Manchester United seeing him leave Old Trafford empty-handed on the back of a 2-1 reversal.

Bale, meanwhile, is still trying to win over his doubters in Spain, with just two goals recorded during another injury-hit campaign which has seen him slip in and out of favour with Zinedine Zidane.