GYLFI SIGURDSSON has warned Tottenham they will not be able to find a direct replacement for Gareth Bale if they let the award-winning star leave this summer.
Speculation has mounted that Europe's biggest clubs will bid for Bale in coming weeks, after Tottenham failed to secure Champions League football despite another wonder winner from the 23-year-old against Sunderland.
It is understood Bale will discuss where his future lies in the coming weeks. Spurs have a history of rewarding their stars with pay rises and Bale certainly falls into that category after scoring 26 goals for his club this season.
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas says he has been told by the club that Bale will stay even though the team will be playing in the Europa League next term, although that might not stop the likes of Real Madrid bidding for the player in the close season.
Sigurdsson thinks it is vital Tottenham retain the services of the Welshman, whose contract runs out in 2016.
"It's very important (that he stays)," the Tottenham forward said.
"It's always very important when you keep good players and he is a fantastic player.
"If he goes I'm sure the club will get a lot of money for him and hopefully he will be replaced by a few players.
"I don't think there will be one player that can replace him because he's been that good."
Bale has given no indication he wants to leave Tottenham.
And, after enjoying a successful season, Sigurdsson thinks Bale is content with life at White Hart Lane.
"He's been here for a long time, he's very happy and obviously enjoying his football so hopefully he will stay," he added.
Bale joined his team-mates on a lap of appreciation following the 1-0 win over Sunderland which was not enough to push the team into the top four because of Arsenal's win at Newcastle.
Spurs supporters acknowledge Villas-Boas has made the team tighter defensively while maintaining an attacking mentality.
Yet there was no escaping the disappointment on the players' faces at having been pipped to the post by bitter rivals Arsenal.