x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Transfer talk: Andre Villas-Boas denies Gareth Bale deal with Madrid

Tottenham Hotspur manager will not comment further on new signings as Premier League club prepare for Europa League match against Dinamo Tbilisi.

Andre Villas-Boas, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, does not believe there is a deal in place for Gareth Bale to leave Real Madrid.
Andre Villas-Boas, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, does not believe there is a deal in place for Gareth Bale to leave Real Madrid.

Andre Villas-Boas has denied that a deal has been agreed for the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.

Recent reports suggest Bale could be closing in on a world-record transfer to the nine-time European champions, but Villas-Boas denied that was the case.

"That is not true," the Tottenham Hotspur manager said on Wednesday night in Tbilisi.

The north London club would not comment, however, on claims that Franco Baldini, the technical director, was in the Spanish capital for talks over Bale's future.

Bale will sit out the first leg of Tottenham's Europa League play-off against Dinamo Tbilisi on Thursday evening, officially because of a foot injury.

While Bale has been recovering, Tottenham have spent £60 million (Dh343.7m) on four new signings and they could shell out that same figure over the next two days to land Willian and Erik Lamela.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the reasoning behind the uncharacteristic record splurge by chairman Daniel Levy.

One is that he wants to bring the stellar signings in to persuade Bale to stay and the other, more popular, one is that the chairman is already spending the cash the world-record fee that the Londoners would receive if the Welshman left for the Bernabeu.

Villas-Boas was asked which one was the case on Wednesday night and he was reluctant to say that the new signings had been bought in order to try to tempt Bale to stay.

"Ideally we want to keep everyone to make us stronger – that is the ultimate objective of the club," the Spurs manager said.

"In the end, anything can happen. We are dragging ourselves into the last weeks of transfer activity and it can become very, very frantic."

Spurs expect to complete the signing of Willian by the time they return from Georgia.

Villas-Boas, meanwhile, has a Europa League play-off tie to prepare for.

The Tottenham manager has vowed to do all he can to win the Europa League this season, even though his squad was stretched thin last season by fighting on two fronts.

"Last season we prioritised both competitions," the Tottenham manager said. "It's the same objective this year.

"We have approached this competition very seriously. We set out a good example that it was possible to play Thursday evenings and Sundays with the same team mostly and we had good success with results in fixtures after the Europa League in the Premier League, so the focus will be exactly the same."

Tbilisi, 14-time domestic champions here, are huge underdogs for Thursday evening's first leg.

Their squad is made up mostly of local players with the odd foreign import.

Still, club officials expect the Dinamo Arena to be close to its 54,000 capacity if the rain holds off, and Villas-Boas is wary of underestimating the opposition.

"This play-off is an extremely difficult play-off. It can knock you out even before a taste of it has happened so we will pick a strong team," he added.


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