Villas-Boas calls for Bale to rebuff Liga transfer

The Portuguese coach is keen to keep hold of his star player, and has urged him to remain in “the best league in the world” in order to aid his development at the top level

By Greg Stobart at Enfield Training Centre

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has called on Gareth Bale to shun a move to Spain and continue his playing career in England.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has stated earlier on Friday that the Welsh winger should stay in the Premier League, and the Portuguese coach is in full agreement.

“It’s extremely respectful. We have the best league in the world, in my opinion. For a player to develop to his full potential, it can be done perfectly in this league. Gareth has that in mind regarding Spurs and this league,” he told a press conference.

“We don’t want Gareth to go away under any circumstances. I’ve told you in the past that our chairman is very difficult to deal with. We have to hold on to our best players to achieve our objectives.

“He has proved his quality in different fixtures against different opposition. He’s going to be a major threat. You can’t allow him any kind of space. He upsets opponents with his pace, power and technique. On this form he can continue to be decisive.

“I think he’s very down to earth. He’s a very human person.

“Comparisons are going all over the place. The level of form of the player means people are recognising he’s world class. Merit is due where it’s due and I think Gareth is showing that level of form. Players like [Lionel] Messi have won titles, you have to win trophies and our aim is to do that.

“All of us have weaknesses one way or the other but the player is enjoying his football like he never was before. When you are at this level your weaknesses tend not to expose so much.”

Spurs host Arsenal on Sunday with both teams vying for a top-four finish, and while the former Porto boss praised the calibre of the rivalry, he played down the importance of this particular clash.

“It’s a very special fixture,” he continued. “I think it’s up there with Manchester United against Liverpool in terms of rivalry.

“I think we are on a good run of form and extremely confident. It’s not going to be decided on whatever happens this weekend. Seven points’ difference if we win is still recoverable for a team like Arsenal, as we saw last season. It’s all very tight together still.

“Last weekend we managed to build a distance to Everton of nine points. We just have to keep on going after this result. Obviously we know the importance of this fixture and how it can impact on both clubs moving forward.

“For the fans it would be tremendous [to finish above Arsenal]. The rivalry is something very special, there is a demand from everybody to achieve success in this fixture. There’s certainly some pressure on this fixture and this result, it means a lot in north London.

“Only at the end of the season are we able to see [if there has been a power shift]. Even then, it won’t be just next season that determines that, it needs to be over a period of time.”

And Villas-Boas confirmed that Jermain Defoe could be fit in time for the derby, though Younes Kaboul will miss out.

“Jermain trained with the team these last two days so hopefully he is going to be available for selection. Tomorrow he trains again, so he’s in contention,” he added.

“I think we are looking at two more weeks [for Kaboul]. There hasn’t been a setback but his reintroduction has taken more time. Every time he feels pain in his knee.”