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AVB still confident star man won't Bale

ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS remains confident Gareth Bale will stay at White Hart Lane this summer despite Tottenham's failure to qualify for the Champions League.

Bale bagged his 26th goal of the season to give Spurs a 1-0 win over Sunderland, but it was not enough to earn a place in Europe's premier club competition as Arsenal defeated Newcastle by the same scoreline at St James' Park.

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and both Manchester clubs have all been linked with the 23-year-old, who won every leading player accolade in England this term.

Unlike Spurs, all four of those clubs will be able to offer the forward Champions League football next season. But that does not mean the Welshman is on his way out of north London, according to his manager.

When asked whether Bale would still be at Spurs next term, Villas-Boas said: "Yes, that's the information we have.

"It is very, very difficult to lure a player of this dimension away. You have to hold onto your best assets."

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, writing in his annual chairman's message to supporters, underlined his desire to keep the squad's best players at White Hart Lane.



The wording was not as strong as it has been in previous years when speculation mounted about Bale and former player Luka Modric, but the message was still the same.

"Looking ahead to the summer, we shall continue to seek to strengthen and improve the team and to retain key players," Levy wrote.

Villas-Boas last night bemoaned the decision making of referee Andre Marriner, who denied Tottenham a pretty clear penalty in the first half.

In the 21st minute with the score 0-0 at both Tottenham and Newcastle, Bale entered the Sunderland box and went down after colliding with Sebastian Larsson.

The Swede used both arms to knock the former Southampton man to the ground. But, rather than award Spurs a penalty, Marriner handed Bale his fifth yellow card of the season for simulation.