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Hardball: Bale "isn't leaving Spurs," says AVB

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Andre Villas-Boas has made the most unambiguous statement yet that Tottenham is determined to keep ahold of its best player.

Laurence Griffiths

The Gareth Bale transfer saga rolls on and shows no indication of stopping. Today, an article in MARCA, the Spanish newspaper that is unabashedly pro-Real Madrid, reported that Andre Villas-Boas and Daniel Levy are extraordinarily determined to keep ahold of Welsh superstar Gareth Bale in the face of concrete interest from the Galacticos. Villas-Boas gave direct quotes to MARCA stating that Bale will not be leaving North London this summer.

"Bale isn't leaving Spurs... [Spurs chairman Daniel Levy] has pledged that Bale isn't leaving the club."

Obviously, we've suffered through numerous rumors about a serious bid for Bale from Real Madrid in all sorts of media publications, and the numbers have only gone up, from £40m to £85m to over £100m. And yet despite that Bale has not given any indication that he is champing at the bit to get away from Spurs. This statement is also the firmest indication yet that Spurs are not selling Bale this summer. Saying "we are not selling Bale" is much more direct and emphatic than saying something like "Gareth Bale is a Tottenham player until we say otherwise."

This is positive news, but don't think for a second that this is going to dissuade the media circus that has perpetually surrounded Gareth Bale, Tottenham, and Real Madrid since the end of last season, however. Naturally, MARCA has already spun AVB's quotes to indicate that this is Spurs angling for the best price, and not taking him off the market. And that very well could still be true. Remember that the transfer window has yet to even officially open, and no formal bids have been made for Bale from Real Madrid or anyone. A lot can happen between now and September 2, and we've already seen countless times a club saying that a player is not for sale, only to sell him days or weeks later. But if you're in the camp that believes that Spurs should hold on to Bale no matter what kind of stupid money gets thrown at the club, then your day probably just got a little brighter.

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