Leading clubs in Spain and Italy will be on high alert – and hoping Tottenham Hotspur's indifferent form continues – after Gareth Bale revealed that he will consider his future at White Hart Lane if the club fails to qualify for next season's Champions' League.
"If we don't," the Welsh left winger told BBC TV's Football Focus, "I will have to discuss what's best for myself. I had a taste [of Champions' League] last season and thoroughly enjoyed it. Everyone wants to test themselves against the best players in the world." Bale's current Spurs deal lasts until 2015 and was signed during that Champions' League campaign, but his good form in the first two-thirds of this season saw him stir interest at Barcelona and Internazionale, among others.
The north London club are currently lying fifth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Newcastle United, and their next three matches are all against teams fighting relegation, starting with this afternoon's visit of Blackburn Rovers. Games at Bolton Wanderers and Aston Villa, both also desperate for points, are then followed by the visit of Fulham on the final day of the League season.
"We know how difficult it is when a team is fighting relegation," Bale said – Spurs lost 1-0 at Queens Park Rangers last weekend despite playing against 10 men in the closing stages – "but we've got the quality in the dressing room and if we play to our best, we know we'll win."
Tottenham have won only three of their last 14 games as their form has dipped from its early-season high. But Harry Redknapp remains optimistic he will hang on to the Welshman. "At the moment he is happy here, a big fish here," the manager said. "He is still learning the game, a young boy, and this is where he needs to be."
However, Redknapp was less sanguine about the prospects of keeping his influential playmaker Luka Modric, who was the subject of several bids by Chelsea last summer and has yet to sign a new contract.
"Last summer it was vital that we kept hold of Luka," he said. "I don't think we will have to do it with people like Gareth Bale this summer. Luka, it's different with him. I don't know what he would do. I would be lying if I said I was sure that he would stay. You don't know."
Spurs' defeat by QPR saw them drop out of the top four and they are now struggling to qualify for the Champions' League but even fourth place may not be good enough if Chelsea win the European Cup final against Bayern Munich since only four English teams will go through.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Blackburn Rovers is on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 4pmReuse content