Saints reject £10m offer for Bale from mystery club

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The Independent Football

Southampton yesterday received a £10m offer from an unnamed Premiership club for the Welsh international defender Gareth Bale.

Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United have had bids, of £6m and £8m respectively, turned down and the Saints manager, George Burley, has insisted that the 17-year-old will not leave St Mary's before the end of the season.

"I've told Gareth I feel he needs to be here this season and next season, that would be ideal for his development," Burley said. "I haven't changed my opinion. You can't beat playing first-team football for the development of a young kid. At a big club it's harder to get into the team, which is understandable. It's best for the player to be in this league, at a good club, where he can find his feet."

Bale's contract runs out in 18 months and talks over a one-year extension, the maximum allowed for a player of his age, have been put off until the summer.

A decision is expected today over whether Spurs will go straight into the last 16 of the Uefa Cup after Feyenoord's expulsion because of crowd trouble. If Spurs are given a bye they would miss out on gate and television money. Uefa could reinstate Wisla Krakow, who finished fourth in Feyenoord's group, as replacement opposition.

"Hopefully, we'll get some compensation but other people may think differently," said the Spurs manager, Martin Jol. "At Uefa they could think, 'You want to play, play against Wisla Krakow'. It's not a problem for them and it's not a problem for us because if we have to play we have to play."