COMMENTARY | Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale cannot stop winning awards this spring. According to Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, the Welsh wonder will be sticking around to defend his titles for at least one more year.
On the same afternoon that Bale was named Football Writers' Association Player of the Year, four days after the Tottenham man took home Professional Footballers' Association Player and Young Player of the Year honors, Villas-Boas told reporters that he expects Bale to remain at Spurs regardless of where the club finishes in the league table. Tottenham currently sit in fifth place and out of the Champions League spots, two points behind Arsenal and three points behind Chelsea. Both Tottenham and Chelsea have one game in hand over Arsenal, and the Blues will host Spurs in what will be a pivotal match for all three of those sides on May 8.
AVB stated the following on the matter when speaking with the press on Thursday: "The information that I have from the club, which was mistakenly written about last week, is that the player is here to remain, independent of the objectives of Champions League qualification being achieved or not. I would be extremely surprised (if he left). In football anything can happen. It's impossible to predict, but this is the assurance I have had from the club. We understand that the more awards the more recognition the player will have, the more media attention, but the club has to move forward by holding onto its best players. With the recognition and the further experience that he has had from this year, next year for Tottenham he will be even more assertive."
Bale has been linked with giants such as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona for well over a year. He signed a new four-year deal with Spurs last summer, a contract that more raises his transfer fee than it does guarantee that he will remain at White Hart Lane through the middle of this decade. The asking price of around £50-60m (there has been speculation that chairman Daniel Levy is asking for closer to £80m) will, according to multiple reports, not keep Real Madrid or Bayern Munich from pursuing Bale once the upcoming summer transfer window opens.
Levy promised supporters before the 2012 season finale that Spurs would not be selling off their stars come summertime regardless of the club's Champions League fate. Chelsea then defeated Bayern Munich in the UCL Final, Spurs were again relegated to Europa League, and Luka Modric was sold to Real Madrid and Rafael van der Vaart to Hamburg (we now know that Van der Vaart was also having marital problems at the time). The point is that AVB's most recent comments on this subject could be nothing more than Spurs positioning themselves to get top dollar for their most valuable player.
All indications are that Bale thoroughly enjoys playing for Villas-Boas and at Spurs. Money talks, however, and Levy may feel that it is in his club's best interests to sell if a team such as Real Madrid are willing to accept his highest asking price. Bale himself may decide that the time to cash in on his talent is now, and thus request a move to one of the biggest clubs in the world. The 2012-13 campaign is weeks from being over, but the so-called "silly season" has already arrived.
It will likely once again be a long and tumultuous summer for Tottenham fans.
Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, RBNY, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
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