Villas-Boas: Bale will stay at Spurs
Bale's trophy cabinet looks to swell in the coming weeks after another season of success for the 23-year-old star. The Welshman is odds-on favorite to land the PFA Player of the Year award, and there is a chance that he could also scoop the gong awarded to the best young player of the season.
Bale's 28 goals for club and country have seen him linked to some of Europe's biggest clubs, most notably Real Madrid. Villas-Boas has often made positive noises about the chances of keeping Bale at Tottenham but on Friday, for the first time, he said he had received a concrete assurance that the forward will remain at Spurs so long as they make the top four.
"I think so, that's the information that I have from the club," the Tottenham manager said when asked whether Bale would stay if his team qualify. The club is committed to keeping the best assets. That's the only way that we can ensure that we are in the top four every year. Gareth is part of that project bearing in mind that he has been amazing this season. Hopefully we can develop him to a greater extent."
Whether Tottenham do make the top four is still in the balance. They will move up from fifth to third if they beat Wigan on Saturday, but with Chelsea still to play in the run-in the north Londoners could have to settle for fifth.
What is certain is that there is no bigger fan of Bale within the Tottenham set-up than Villas-Boas. The Portuguese, so careful not to single his players out for individual praise at Chelsea, never passes on an opportunity to hail Bale.
The embrace the two shared after Bale's superb last-minute winner against West Ham earlier this season also gives hope to supporters that the manager's bond with the player could be key to boosting the chances of him remaining at the club.
"We get a buzz from working with great players and Gareth has developed into a great player so I couldn't be happier," the 35-year-old said. "Gareth has had a major development this year. He has played in so many positions and has had such a big impact in those positions. We are happy that he has been nominated but we would be even happier if he was to win."
Andy Gray and Cristiano Ronaldo are the only two players in the history of the PFA Awards have won both the senior and junior gongs in the same year. Bale has also been tipped to win the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year award and he is almost certain to be named Tottenham's player of the season.
Villas-Boas thinks that the contribution of the rest of the Spurs squad to Bale's displays should not be overlooked, however.
He added: "In the end the team has helped him have this wonderful year. Although the recognition is individual, I think the team will feel well and will feel good for Gareth too. They are an excellent group and everything they have spoken about Gareth is with respect. It's something they feel so I suppose they will be extremely happy for him."