Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has revealed there has not been “one second of discussion” about extending Gareth Bale’s loan for another season.
The Wales international is on a year-long deal from Real Madrid, with the option of a second, but has endured an underwhelming return to north London so far.
After arriving injured he has struggled to ever reach top condition, playing predominantly in the Europa League, and his progress in recent months has been hampered by illness and fitness issues.
It has been far from the homecoming that Spurs had imagined when he arrived back at the club and Mourinho is not looking too far in advance.
“There was not even a second of discussion about that,” he said amid reports that Spurs will be sending him back to the Bernabeu in the summer.
“Gareth is a player on loan until the end of the season. Not one second of discussion. We are speaking about, of course, Gareth, himself, Real Madrid, Tottenham, but I promise you, not one second of discussion.”
Bale has been mainly limited to Europa League action and substitute appearances in the Premier League, where he has played just 45 minutes since November 8.
Tellingly, Mourinho chose not to use him in the final 15 minutes against Fulham on Wednesday when his side were chasing the winner.
But the Portuguese is determined to try and get the best out of the 31-year-old, though conceded he does not know whether he will be involved in Sunday’s trip to Sheffield United.
“Of course you know that he arrived injured, and he was injured before, I believe, the first month,” Mourinho added. “And then, step by step, Europa League matches were helping him to get his condition.
“The Europa League group phase is a different level than the Premier League. The knock-out is a different story.
“But the group phase is a different intensity, a different rhythm, a different quality. So in the Premier League, he didn’t play many minutes.
“Then another small injury at Stoke where he was having a good first half.
“Everybody knew that in the past couple of seasons, in Madrid, they were not easy for him. So let’s go, step by step, and try to get the best out of him.”
One man whose future is definitely away from Spurs is Danny Rose, who has been frozen out under Mourinho.
He is out of contract in the summer and will not be offered a new one so has spent the first half of the season training and playing with the club’s Under-23s.
Mourinho does not know whether the 30-year-old will find a new club during January, but has praised his impact on the younger players.
“I don’t know. Honestly I don’t know,” he said when asked whether Rose would exit the club this month.
“Working with the Under-23s and playing sometimes with them and well, the couple of times I watched him.
“Good contribution for the kids’ team and for the kids’ development, but I don’t know what’s going to happen in the market.”
Spurs, who have seen two recent Premier League games postponed due to coronavirus outbreaks at opposition clubs, are due to travel to Wycombe in 10 days in the FA Cup fourth round.
The Chairboys have revealed that they too have suffered a number of cases of the virus which has seen their Championship game with QPR called off on Saturday.
Mourinho, however, is confident the game will go ahead.
“I’m not worried,” he said. “I believe they’ll be nice and fresh and all ready to play against us, like is happening to many clubs – they have matches postponed before they play us.
“That’s the way it is. I expect to play them and I hope we do.”
Giovani Lo Celso is missing for Sunday’s visit to Sheffield United with a hamstring injury, but Steven Bergwijn is back after a recent illness.