Will Gareth Bale out or stay put? Tottenham face fight to keep Wales star

22 October 2010 06:42
Gareth Bale's spectacular San Siro hat-trick left a question hanging over Tottenham: Are they now a big enough club to hang on to their most valuable asset?

Bale's brilliant treble on Wednesday night revealed to the rest of Europe what the Barclays Premier League already knew - that the 21-year-old Welshman is one of the most exciting talents anywhere in the world.

Three and easy: Bale lit up the San Siro with an inspired second half hat-trick

Italian newspapers drooled over what they had seen from Bale and immediately declared him an Inter player in waiting, but his list of admirers is now a who's who of Europe's biggest clubs.

Barcelona have long coveted a world-class attacking left-back and, after the failure of his pursuit of Ashley Cole from Chelsea, Jose Mourinho wants the same sort of player at Real Madrid.

As boss Harry Redknapp acknowledged after the game, Spurs now face a test of how far they have come.

Twice previously in recent seasons they have seen their best player become a target for a more successful club; on both occasions - Michael Carrick in 2006, and Dimitar Berbatov in 2008 - they were unable to persuade them to stay.

Rallying the troops: but Spurs fell just short of a memorable comeback

Both players preferred to join Manchester United, and Bale, who turned down Sir Alex Ferguson when he joined Spurs from Southampton in 2007, could yet become a Old Trafford target again when the manager comes to spend Wayne Rooney's transfer fee.

The difference now is that Spurs are a Champions League club. They were wise enough to hand Bale a new four-year deal in May, doubling his wages to around £50,000-a-week.

Bumping that up by a further £30,000-a-week to put him in line with the club' s top earners is something the club's hierarchy may now consider as an worthwhile insurance policy.

Inter target: Bale has been watched by the San Siro club

Unsurprisingly, Bale' s team-mates were falling over themselves to sing his praises yesterday.

Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes claimed he is good enough to play for Brazil. And, having brought into serious doubt Maicon's claim to be the world's best right back, Alan Hutton lauded Bale's finishing on a par with that of Jermain Defoe.

Peter Crouch summed it up. 'You have to give it to Gareth Bale,' said the Spurs striker. 'He was fantastic.'

The Italian press were in full agreement, Gazzetta dello Sport describing Bale as a 'Welsh Cyclone' , adding ominously '(he is an) Inter player, even more so after last night'.

Inter president Massimo Moratti said: 'We have followed him in the past; you can see why. After those three goals, he will cost a lot more.'

Bale was quick to praise Redknapp's role in his development, and made the right noises about not allowing his ascension to the A-list of European talent go to his head.

'He (Redknapp) has given me confidence and the belief to go out there to show just what I can do,' said Bale. 'I don't read into anything said about me. I am just happy playing for Tottenham. It's best to keep your feet on the ground. Hopefully, there is still a lot more to come from me.'

Observers in the San Siro witnessed one notable Spurs fan, Bale's mum, burst into tears when he completed his hat-trick in added time. They will all be crying their eyes out if Bale's Spurs story has the same ending as that of Carrick and Berbatov.

 Tottenham's hat-trick hero Bale insists he's won't leave White Hart LaneBale joins Puskas, Law, Santa Cruz and Vieri in the pointless hat-trick clubInter Milan 4 Tottenham 3: Game of two halves but brilliant Bale's heroics in vainTOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC

Source: Daily_Mail

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:57