Tottenham officials inadvertently kick-started a "frenzy" of fresh speculation over the future of Gareth Bale after the photograph of the Welsh winger was removed from the club’s official Twitter homepage.
Spurs fans were quick to spot the change on the social networking site and came to the conclusion that the removal of Bale’s image from the webpage was evidence that his proposed move to Real Madrid is edging close to completion.
Yet Tottenham then used the same Twitter account to defend their decision to change the images, with Mousa Dembele replacing Bale on the left side of the page and Aaron Lennon planted on the right side in place of Clint Dempsey, who left Spurs to join MLS side Seattle Sounders last weekend.
Changing our Twitter background seems to have created a bit of a frenzy. With Clint leaving the Club, it was time for an image change #THFC— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 6, 2013
Gareth was on that background too. Did anyone notice? We change our social media backgrounds regularly and feature all players. #THFC— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 6, 2013
While Bale’s future at Spurs remains in doubt, the momentum that appeared to be gathering behind his proposed move to Real Madrid last week has ground to a halt in recent days amid reports of a potential world record deal hitting stumbling blocks.
The latest reports suggest Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will hold a meeting with Real Madrid President Florentino Perez in Miami next week in a bid to finalise the deal, after Spurs Director Keith Mills admitted it will be "very difficult" to force Bale to stay if he has set his heart on a move to Madrid.
The 24-year-old PFA Footballer of the Year was present at Tottenham’s training base on Tuesday, yet it is unclear whether he will be considered for selection in Saturday's pre-season friendly against Espanyol at White Hart Lane.