Belfast Telegraph

Gareth Bale 'has played last game for Tottenham Hotspur'

By Sam Wallace

Andre Villas-Boas yesterday revealed that Gareth Bale will not be fit to play until Tottenham Hotspur's derby game against Arsenal one day before the transfer window closes on September 2, raising the possibility the Welshman has already played his last game for the club.

The Spurs manager said that he was already planning to be without Bale for the games against Crystal Palace on Sunday; the Europa League qualifier against Dinamo Tbilisi on Thursday and the first home league match of the season against Swansea in nine days. Villas-Boas said that "ideally" Bale would stay at Spurs next season but could offer no guarantees.

Villas-Boas said: "For the games against Palace, Tbilisi and Swansea, he will not be in line to threaten to come back. We will have to see how he returns today from [international duty with] Wales, and assess if the pain in his foot has stopped troubling his progress to return into first-team training. Our idea is to count on Gareth. I have told you lots and lots of times.

"Speculation has arisen with the player because of the quality that he has and the season that he had, the amazing moments of individual brilliance. Ideally, we would like the player to continue belonging to Tottenham. We are aware that Real Madrid are interested. It doesn't mean that we are willing to negotiate."

Villas-Boas said that the final decision over Bale would be made collectively, with chairman Daniel Levy and technical director Franco Baldini. "Everyone is involved, whatever the decision we take – including those from last season onwards," he said. "We explain to the clubs that have asked for him that the player is our player."

The Spurs manager was also asked about Bale's state of mind as he recovers from injury and with his future unresolved. "His mental state nobody knows because the player doesn't speak. The only thing that we are able to see – or you are able to see – is the player arriving in and out of the training ground." Asked to clarify what he believed Bale's mental state to be, Villas-Boas said: "It's fine, it's fine."

Asked whether Spurs might have been a "one-man team", Villas-Boas responded by implying that all major teams have one key figure.

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