Spurs manager, Andre Villas-Boas, held a press conference on Friday as they stepped up their pre-season campaign in Hong Kong.
Spurs are taking place in the Premier League Asia Trophy but the tour has been dominated by rumours regarding the future of their star player, Gareth Bale. They lost their semi-final clash with Sunderland on Wednesday and now face South China in the third/fourth place play-off on Saturday. Speaking ahead of that game AVB answered questions on Bale’s future and injury to defender Jan Vertonghen.
The future of Bale looks like it could become a big distraction if not dealt with soon. Rumours came from Spanish newspaper, Marca, during the week that a deal has been agreed between Bale and Real Madrid. Marca are renowned for having sources very close to Real Madrid and Spurs have remained quiet on the whole affair. The fact that Bale did not play against Sunderland added fuel to the fire for certain people and during the week Villas-Boas wasn’t overly assuring in dealing with questions on Bale but he spoke about the issue in his latest press conference.
AVB unveiled that there are “ongoing contacts with club and agent” in an attempt to keep Bale at the club. He was very quick to point out that Bale is under contract at White Hart Lane, having signed a new deal last summer but he also confirmed that negotiations are in place for a new deal. “Talks are ongoing but it doesn’t mean that there is an agreement”, said Villas-Boas indicating that the problem isn’t solved but Spurs are dealing with it. He confirmed that negotiations between Bale’s representatives and Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, were in place.
We all know what a strong negotiator Levy can be and it shows that there is still a long way to go in these negotiations. It’s very hard to tell where Bale will start the new season. Villas-Boas refused to comment on whether Spurs had received an offer from Real Madrid and it seems that the interest is serious. We have become accustomed to Real Madrid’s ‘galactico’ transfer policy and it appears that President, Floretino Perez, wants Bale to fill that void this summer. One thing that is for sure is that Daniel Levy will remain strong in his stance and he will do what he thinks is best for Spurs. This transfer saga definitely isn’t over.
On the subject of players coming into White Hart Lane, AVB confirmed that the club are still pursuing Valencia and Spain striker Roberto Soldado. Valencia confirmed during the week that they had rejected Spurs’s bid saying that it didn’t meet their valuation. It is believed that Soldado has a buy-out clause over €30 million and this is the only figure that will see him depart Valencia for any other club.
“There is interest in the player”, confirmed Villas-Boas and he also confirmed that the clubs were in “conversations and discussions”. He finished by saying “I don’t have any further developments to give”, probably telling us that the transfer lies in the hands of Daniel Levy. Spurs are in need of further options in attack. Soldado has a good record in La Liga and looks like a potential good signing.
The final issue Villas-Boas spoke on was injury to defender Jan Vertonghen. Vertonghen picked up an ankle injury during the game with Sunderland. He was stretchered off leading to fears that it was a long term injury but AVB said that he has a chance of being fit for the start of the new season. He confirmed that it is ligament damage and the player will be out for “2-3 weeks”. It would be a blow going by his very impressive first season last year but in Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul and Steven Caulker they have a strong depth of replacements.
It was a more reassuring press conference from Villas-Boas that answered some questions for Spurs fans. It is exciting and slightly worrying times at White Hart Lane. While they are in a position to become a strong competitor for the Premier League and Champions League qualification but they need to keep their best players and add quality to the squad if they are to move to the next level. They will need to keep Bale and add more if they are to progress and let’s hope they can succeed in this and really add a serious new competitor to the top of the table.