7 Aug 2013

Spurs can't force Bale to stay

5:34 am on 7 August 2013

Spanish football giants Real Madrid have been given renewed hope in their pursuit of Tottenham Hotspur's Welsh star Gareth Bale after a Spurs director admitted they can't hold onto him against his will.

Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said last week that his club were in talks with Tottenham over Bale's transfer but Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas says the winger is not for sale.

However, although club director Keith Mills says Spurs "very much want Bale to stay", he accepts that the London side can't force the 24-year-old to remain at White Hart Lane against his wishes.

Mills says if a player is desperate to leave, it's very difficult to force him to stay - even if he has a contract.

Bale reported for training on Tuesday, despite reports in the Spanish media that he would go on strike in a bid to force through a move to the Spanish capital.

Bale missed Spurs' 5-2 friendly loss to Monaco at the weekend due to a foot problem and has not played for the club since a 1-1 draw against Swindon Town on July 16.

He was unable to take part in the pre-season tour of Hong Kong because of a buttock injury.

Bale scored 26 goals for Spurs last season and was voted the Professional Football Association (PFA) Player of the Year, the PFA Young Player of the Year and the Football Writers' Association (FWA) Footballer of the Year.