Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has said he tried to sign Gareth Bale for Real Madrid but refused to comment on Spurs' pursuit of the winger.
Sources have told ESPN that Spurs are locked in talks with Real over a deal to bring the 31-year-old back to north London seven years after he moved to Spain in what was then a world record £85.3 million fee.
TOP FOOTBALL NEWS
• Sources: Mourinho backs Bale move
• Haaland, Sancho head Golden Boy list
• Villa sign Martinez from Arsenal for £20m
• Messi beats Ronaldo on Forbes rich list
• Koeman: Barca can't sign Depay
• Bundesliga stadiums: Home fans to return
Speaking ahead of Tottenham's Europa League second qualifying round match with Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Mourinho said: "Gareth Bale is a Real Madrid player, I don't comment on players from other clubs.
"I tried to sign him for Real Madrid which was not possible. There is no secret on that. I think even Gareth knows that."
Tottenham have moved ahead of Manchester United in the race to land Bale from Real, sources told ESPN, with United still pursuing Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund as a priority signing.
Bale scored 56 goals in 203 appearances for Spurs between 2007 and 2013 after arriving from Southampton in a deal worth an initial £5m in May 2007.