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Thursday 24 August 2017

AVB: Only talks we had with Real were to say 'no'

SPURS boss rubbishes suggestions from Madrid that Bale exit is close

Andre Villas-Boas insists the only talks between Tottenham and Real Madrid regarding Gareth Bale have been to tell the Spanish club he is not for sale.

Bale has been linked with a world record transfer to Madrid, with reports of a deal worth up to £105million being all but finalised, but Spurs manager Villas-Boas insists he is continuing to plan for the coming season with Bale in his team, while admitting to some frustration with Madrid's very public pursuit of the Wales international.

"I think the rumours that anything is imminent are not true," he said after the 5-2 friendly defeat to Monaco, before going on to criticise Real coach Carlo Ancelotti for publicly confirming that talks had taken place.

"We've allowed ourselves conversations with Real Madrid, confirmed by their coach I think wrongly, but the only thing we've communicated is that the player is our player and not for sale."

Asked if he felt Ancelotti was in the wrong, Villas-Boas said: "I think so, in my opinion.

"Carlo is a person I appreciate a lot and we have great respect for each other, but bearing in mind this situation they have decided to make it public.

Situations

"Normally in situations like this in England it is scrutinised by the (Football Association) with lots of care and attention. We have seen lots of people speak about a player that is not theirs and we are due some respect.

"There are conversations because there is big, big respect between the clubs bearing in mind the transfer last year (of Luka Modric) and the agreement last year of goodwill between the clubs. At the moment we are following from those instructions.

"But of the player, bearing in mind the investment you have seen at Tottenham recently, he is a player who is decisive for us. We are building a very strong team and we are building for a future with Gareth.

"In football, anything is possible but what we have communicated so far is that we are not willing to concede to their interest in the player."

Bale has not featured for Tottenham during the pre-season, with a foot injury reported to have been the cause for his absence from the Monaco trip.

It is being reported that the player is unsettled amid Madrid's continuing interest.

Former Tottenham manager George Graham views Bale's departure from White Hart Lane as inevitable.

"I think he'll go, there's no question about it," Graham said. "The money they're talking about is a bit inflated, but he's a top-class player, one of the best in the world.

"If he wants to go, Tottenham will push the price as high as they possibly can.

"They need a top-class centre forward, that's one of the reasons why they finished fifth last season. They need more firepower up front and the sooner they get it the better."

One player who has definitely left White Hart Lane is American striker Clint Dempsey.

The US international said he was excited to return to Major League Soccer after completing a deal to join Seattle Sounders.

"Coming into the season I thought I was going to start with Tottenham but the MLS and Seattle Sounders have moved mountains to get me here," the 30-year-old Dempsey said.

"I'm happy to come back in my prime and be able to make a difference and not when I'm past it."

Spurs reached an agreement with the MLS for Dempsey and he was presented by the Sounders before their match against FC Dallas. "I'm excited about coming up here," added Dempsey, who scored 12 goals in 43 appearances for Tottenham after joining from Fulham.

Seasons

Dempsey, who has played 99 times for the United States and is captain of the national side, played for the New England Revolution for two seasons before joining Fulham in January 2007.

He leaves Tottenham following the arrival of Spain's Roberto Soldado from Valencia and Brazilian international Paulinho from Corinthians.

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