'Cherished' Bale to miss opener
Gareth Bale will not be involved in Tottenham's start to the Premier League season although manager Andre Villas-Boas has emphasised his desire to retain a player that the club "cherishes".
The Welshman's future has been the subject of much speculation throughout the summer, with Bale closely linked with a world-record move to Real Madrid.
The saga has dominated the headlines - and will no doubt continue to do so with the transfer window open until Monday, September 2 - although there was some distraction when Spurs confirmed they have reached an agreement with Toulouse to sign France midfielder Etienne Capoue.
Bale sat out Wales' goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday night with a foot injury and national-team manager Chris Coleman admitted questions over Bale's future had dominated the build-up to the game.
Spurs open their new campaign at newly-promoted Crystal Palace on Sunday and when asked if Bale would feature at Selhurst Park, Villas-Boas told Sky Sports News: "No, because he's been out injured for most of pre-season.
"He was involved in the games against Brentford and Swindon but not any others, for different reasons; he pulled a muscle in his gluteus that prevented him from being involved for two weeks and he's been complaining of pain in the foot.
"I think the most natural thing is to see him not involved against Palace."
He added: "We've been very, very clear with everybody regarding the player and our willingness to hold on to him.
"Obviously in football anything can happen in the end but this is a player we cherish a lot and has helped us progress and ideally we want to continue with him."
Real have maintained a constant public campaign to try to woo Bale this summer, but the clubs have yet to come to an agreement.
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