Former Wales and Real Madrid manager John Toshack believes all is not right with Gareth Bale, suspecting something went wrong during his protracted move from Tottenham Hotspur to the Bernabeu.
The 24-year-old has started just one game since his world record move to the Spanish capital during the summer transfer window, making a further two substitute appearances as he has struggled to regain full fitness.
Speculation regarding the nature of Bale's absence has been rife amongst the Spanish press. Real Madrid were forced to deny reports the Wales international is suffering from a hernia in his back that would require surgery, explaining the player has a "small, chronic protrusion in a spinal disc that will not affect him playing."
Following that announcement, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has insisted this week that Bale will ready to play against Malaga on Saturday.
But looking back on Bale's record move, Toshack believes there may have been more complications that neither Real Madrid or Tottenham were willing to disclose, in order to explain his troubled start to life in Spain.
"Bale spent 18 months without playing for me due to injury, he had foot problems and struggled a lot," Toshack said speaking to Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.
"Something strange had to have gone on to hold up the transfer like it did, something doesn't add up.
"When Bale's not in, there's a lot of frustration with Bale. Madrid know they're stuff, they know they have a problem and need to fix it.
"In my time, Bale had very bad luck with his ankle, he had two surgeries."
Toshack, who awarded Bale his full international debut during his spell as national team boss in 2006, also backed his fellow countryman to take on the role as the club's leading number nine on his return.
Karim Benzema has been on the receiving end of jeers from the Bernabeu crowd after his indifferent start to the season where he has struck just two league goals.
Although Spain Under-21 international Alvaro Morata is also in contention, Toshack believes the job should be handed to the former Spurs hero.
"With all the problems that Benzema has been having in front of goal, I would play with Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale in attack.
"He could play in the number nine position in my opinion. He is an extraordinary player and I am confident that he will succeed."