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AVB: I'd be extremely surprised if Bale left

ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS says he has been assured that Gareth Bale will stay with Tottenham this summer – even if the club do not qualify for the Champions League.

Bale is enjoying the best season of his career and his stock rose even further yesterday when he was named Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers' Association.

He is the only player other than Cristiano Ronaldo to win the FWA Footballer of the Year, the PFA Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year prizes in the same season.

Last week Villas-Boas, whose team currently sit fifth despite Bale's 19-goal haul in the Premier League, sparked fears that the Tottenham forward could leave the club this summer if the team do not make the top four. But the Spurs manager claimed his comments had been misunderstood.

The Portuguese insists that the 23-year-old will remain at White Hart Lane this summer even if the team fail to qualify for the competition which Bale admitted on Sunday night that he misses playing in so much.

"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," Villas-Boas said.

 

Assurance

"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's progress this year has not gone unnoticed by Real Madrid, but Villas-Boas and chairman Daniel Levy are digging their heels in over the player's future.

Villas-Boas added: "Whatever price tag the player has doesn't matter to us because he's our player.

"He's a player we have to hold onto for the remaining seasons to make sure that we reach our objectives and continue to progress as a club."


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