Tottenham attempt to ward off potential suitors with Bale contract extension

Gareth Bale has signed a contract extension with Tottenham Hotspur in a deal that sees the Welshman commit his future to the north London club until 2015. Having enjoyed a sparkling season to date Bale’s new contract looks set to reflect his growing importance within a blossoming Tottenham side.

Still only 21, Bale is already cementing his place at the heart of a youthful Spurs team as manager Harry Redknapp looks to build his side around the mercurial winger. Delighted with the deal, Redknapp stated: “Gareth is now one of the top left-sided players in the world, he really is an amazing talent and can only get better.” Yet, such a luminary future was not always on the cards for the man from Cardiff. Signed from Southampton as a 17-year-old during Martin Jol’s tenure, doubts surfaced as to whether he would fulfill his obvious potential and it was not until Redknapp’s arrival that Bale began to establish himself. Even then the Welshman’s impact was far from immediate. As Bale was beginning to establish himself as a left back during 2009, he amassed a Premier League record of 24 matches without tasting victory, a run that seems incomprehensible given his influence this season. This humble beginning proved to be a far cry from the virtuoso performance against Internazionale that made him one of the most coveted players in world football; an apparently decisive factor in the decision to extend his current deal.

It is worth noting that the extension only adds a further year to his existing deal, suggesting that the primary focus was to increase the player’s wages in order to ensure his happiness amidst the admiring glances. As his manager noted: “The world sat up and recognised him after what he did to Inter,” and it is the concerted interest in Bale since that night at the San Siro that has prompted Spurs to act. The timing of the announcement is also pertinent, coming the day after the Champions League quarter final draw pitched up Real Madrid and long time admirer Jose Mourinho. Speaking in 2009, the Special One enthused: “I watched Bale play many times, way before he joined Spurs and was so impressed with his offensive nature,” and having witnessed the Welshman dismantle his former club single-handedly, is widely thought to be firming up his interest.

The Champions League has helped Tottenham to develop one of the most desired players in the world, yet could still be instrumental in prising him away. A Bale-inspired victory over Real may prompt the Spaniards to test the club’s resolve whilst failure to reach next season’s competition could test the player’s. In tying Bale down, Spurs have signalled their intent to keep their star men and build on the progression under Harry Redknapp. With the deal done, Spurs will hope the focus returns to football before they line up against the Madrid giants.

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