Tottenham demand £50m for Gareth Bale
Tottenham are braced for a summer battle to keep hold of Gareth Bale as Manchester City prepare to enter the race for the hottest property in Europe.
Spurs are increasingly confident they can keep Bale beyond the current season, assuming they qualify for the Champions League, with the 23-year-old's stunning recent form the main reason they are still in strong position to qualify for Europe's elite club competition.
Bale is the man of the moment having scored eight goals in his last six Spurs appearances and would now command a fee in excess of £50 million and the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have been joined by City in the race for his signature.
But Spurs, who fought hard to secure a fee in excess of £30 million for Luka Modric last summer, will dismiss bids that do not match their valuation, which is rising by the week thanks to the Welshman's sensational displays.
The long-standing feeling at White Hart Lane is that Bale’s next club will be Real Madrid who have tried to sign the Welshman for the last two-and-a-half years and are understood to have already held talks with his representatives.
Real Madrid are one of the few clubs in world football who could afford Bale’s soaring price tag, but Goal.com understands Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is also pushing his board to make a move for the former Southampton man.
Mancini has previously expressed his admiration of Bale and would love to make the versatile forward his marquee summer signing, but the Italian’s own position at the Etihad Stadium is under threat.
City director of football Txiki Begiristain believes Bale will be too expensive for the Premier League champions and is instead lining up moves for the likes of Brazilian star Neymar or Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao.
Bale is under contract until 2016 after signing a four-year deal last summer and Spurs feel they have enough security to keep him for at least one more season, as long as they finish in the top four and the player does not push for a transfer in the same manner as Modric and Dimitar Berbatov have in recent years.
Bale has barely hidden his desire to one day test himself at one of the biggest clubs in the world and would prefer a move abroad, with Barcelona and Real Madrid long-term suitors and Cristiano Ronaldo his idol.
But he is thriving in the free role afforded him by his Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas and has been in the form of his life since the turn of the year. Tottenham staff consider Bale a model professional and feel he will strongly consider giving the club another year as the ‘main man’.
Bale joined Spurs from Southampton in 2007 and the Wales international had to wait 24 games to win a Premier League match.
By Greg Stobart