Tottenham need Champions League football to keep Bale, admits Villas-Boas

The boss believes the Spurs attacker is among the “five best players” in the league and they must therefore secure a place in Europe’s elite tournament to fight off interest in him

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has hinted that the club must finish in the top four of the Premier League in order to keep hold of Gareth Bale – a player he says they are “very fortunate” to have at the moment.

“Is he the best in the league? I think he’s certainly amongst the five best players, for sure”

The Welshman has been in terrific form for the north London side this season, netting 11 goals in 22 league matches from the wing – which has been key in combating the club’s lack of firepower up front.

And the 23-year-old has been able to replicate it at national level, scoring for Wales in their win over Austria in midweek and making it three in three after efforts against Norwich and West Brom.

The former Southampton man’s good form has inevitably led to increased speculation about a move come the end of the season, with La Liga giants Real Madrid reportedly lining up a mammoth bid to try and lure him away.

“He’s having a tremendous year, he’s such an outstanding player all round,” Villas-Boas told reporters. “We saw yesterday his performance was outstanding once again [for Wales] and I think he’s really enjoying his football.

“Is he the best in the league? It’s very difficult, there are lots of players in contention for an award like that. I think he’s certainly amongst the five best players, for sure.

“Players who perform at this level always get the attention – it doesn’t mean that the club doesn’t foresee a continuous future with Gareth.

“I think it’s intimately related to the objectives that we achieve for the season. He’s a player we rate very highly and we aren’t willing to let go.

“Can we keep him? Hopefully yes. It’s difficult for us to have a player of this dimension playing so well, but in the same way it is difficult for other teams – with the economic situation as it is – to buy a player of this dimension.

“At the moment we are very fortunate to have him. I think we can reach our objectives with him at this level, and if we reach our objectives we can hopefully continue to have Gareth in our club.

“Would Champions League qualification secure his future? I think so. This is where most of the clubs want to be, and where most of the players want to play.

“It’s part of our objectives so hopefully achieving it means we can attract better players and continue to hold on to our best players.”

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