Former boss plans for Bale
Published 15/03/2013 | 16:06
Martin Jol always knew Gareth Bale was a star in the making but on Sunday the Fulham boss has to find a way of stopping Tottenham's Welsh wizard.
Jol was Spurs manager when he plucked Bale from Southampton in 2007 and gave the then 17-year-old left-back his Barclays Premier League debut. Bale has gone on to become the hottest property in English football, and a return of 11 goals in his last 10 games has seen him linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
But Jol, who also tried to sign Bale after moving on to Hamburg, wants the free-scoring 23-year-old to stick with Spurs and become a White Hart Lane legend. Jol said: "I saw Bale at Southampton when he was 15, we followed him and other people came in but I had a few words with his mum to convince him to come to Spurs."
He added: "With hindsight it's very satisfying, he's probably the best player in the Premier League at the moment and he shows it week in, week out. I played him in his first match against Manchester United and he had better stats than any other player, and he was 17.
"Hopefully for the league and for Spurs he will stay because I think it's a very good club for him. He's getting stronger and stronger and playing in the hole he is probably even better. I wanted to get him on loan in Germany and other clubs were trying to get him but they did well to keep him, during that spell where he played 24 games without being on the winning side.
"But they knew and I knew he was an exciting player. If you see Spurs over the last couple of years they are getting better and better so for him to stay, why not? It's a big club with a big fanbase and he could be a legend there. If he decides to go on to bigger things abroad it can be a risk. It comes off sometimes but not always.
"But whatever he decides to do he will have a big future. Hopefully he stays in the league and I can keep enjoying watching him."
Fulham will have not played in over a fortnight when they head to the Lane, while Spurs put in 120 minutes at the San Siro on Thursday night as they squeezed past Inter Milan in the Europa League.
But Jol added: "There were a few players who didn't play and they have a big squad. If they can rest five or six players like they did then there's no problem. Aaron Lennon has been injured and he came on and had a few minutes, so that's a positive for them.
"For us it's annoying, we only have two games this month. Spurs have played all these games but it's probably better to keep your rhythm."