Friday 15 December 2017

Bale pens four-year deal as Spurs close in on Villas-Boas

Gareth Bale. Photo: PA
Gareth Bale. Photo: PA

Jason Burt

Tottenham received a significant boost yesterday with the announcement that Gareth Bale will stay at the club after signing a new four-year contract.

Talks will continue today with Andre Villas-Boas, who remains in advanced negotiations to become Spurs' new manager. The 34-year-old Portuguese is contractually free to take a job in England -- following his sacking at Chelsea in February -- on July 1. It's hoped an official announcement can be made next week.

While Spurs have secured Bale, the chances of Luka Modric remaining are rapidly receding with the midfielder expected to ask for a transfer when he returns from holiday next week.

Real Madrid are preparing a cash-plus-player offer for Modric, involving Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin who has been told he can leave.

Chelsea continue to closely monitor Modric's situation but Spurs, who value the player at £50m, would rather sell to an overseas club.

It remains to be seen if Spurs are interested in Sahin but, at 23, he fits the profile of the players they want to sign. Spurs are, meanwhile, still extremely confident that they have gazumped Liverpool to sign 22-year-old midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson from Hoffenheim after an £8m fee was agreed.

Despite a hitch over the 15pc of the £9.5m transfer fee he is due, Spurs are also very hopeful they will sign Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen this summer as the club overhauls its squad.

While Spurs are braced to lose Modric, they will be heartened to have secured 22-year-old Bale on a new contract, after he complained that he would struggle to remain at the club if there was no Champions League football next season.

Bale's new deal is the third he has signed at Spurs in recent years, following Daniel Levy's policy of incrementally increasing the pay of star performers.

The Welsh international said: "The club is progressing and I want to be part of that, so it was great to get the deal done. I love the club and the fans and I want to play my part in trying to get us back into the Champions League -- where we belong."

Securing Champions League qualification, reducing the average age of the squad and nurturing young talents such as 20-year-old defender Steven Caulker, on loan to Swansea City last season, will be the primary aims of the new manager. He will also have to show a commitment to attacking football.

Despite his torrid eight months at Chelsea, Villas-Boas would appear an ideal fit for the kind of manager Levy wants. He is also desperate to succeed in England and has learnt from the mistakes he made at Chelsea.

With Spurs missing out on the Champions League, despite finishing fourth, after Chelsea won the competition, with one more year on Redknapp's contract and with the move to a new state-of-the-art training ground at Bull's Cross, Levy felt the time was right for a change of approach.

The chairman would like to hire a director of football to work alongside the new manager/head coach but may have cooled on that idea for now as he searches for the right candidate. He will also find an enhanced role for Tim Sherwood, one of the few members of Redknapp's back-room staff to survive, who is highly rated by Levy and may be asked to be chief scout with extra responsibilities.

In a sign that talks are progressing well, Villas-Boas, on Tuesday, turned down the chance to become the new coach of Brazilian club Sao Paulo.

As part of the changes to the squad, Vedran Corluka yesterday left Spurs after agreeing a three-year deal with Lokomotiv Moscow where he will work with their new coach, and his former coach with Croatia, Slaven Bilic. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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