Jose Mourinho is weighing up signing Gareth Bale permanently for Tottenham, according to Noel Whelan.
The former Premier League striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the Portuguese boss wanted to wait until the end of the season before committing himself.
Asked if he would want to keep Bale at Spurs next season, as quoted by Sky Sports, Mourinho insisted the winger’s future lies in the hands of Real Madrid.
The Wales international still has another year left on his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.
However, he has fallen firmly out of favour under manager Zinedine Zidane.
Meanwhile, Bale has started to establish himself as a first-team regular at Spurs, having started against Burnley and Fulham.
As a result, he has now made four consecutive league appearances for the first time this season.
However, Whelan believes Mourinho’s comments mean he is still not convinced about pursuing a permanent deal.
“I think that’s called deflecting the question onto another team without giving you a proper answer,” Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.
“That says to me he’s still undecided whether he wants Gareth Bale himself at the football club.
“I think that’s probably wise considering he’s not been playing or been chosen throughout the season. I don’t think it really surprises any of us that he’s deflected that to Real Madrid, instead of answering the question himself.
“Maybe he’s needing to see how he finishes the season.
“Whether he’s got what it takes to offer Tottenham to be stronger next year. If he’s worthy of paying the wages that he’s demanding right now and what he’s getting.
“There’s lots to take into consideration.”