Tottenham willing to bide their time for Bale

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The Independent Football

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy last night called for patience in the club's attempt to sign teenager Gareth Bale from Southampton.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted at the weekend that Spurs had moved ahead in the race to sign the 17-year-old Wales left-back, but Levy does not want to rush a deal and could wait until the end of the season.

It is the first time Spurs have confirmed interest in Bale, whom Saints manager George Burley believes should stay at St Mary's for first-team experience.

"When you are trying to attract a 17-year-old it is a very big decision for him and his family and we are giving all the time in the world for them to make a decision," Levy said.

"January is always a difficult time to buy players and certainly our philosophy here is to end the window, whether it be January or the summer, in a better position than we started, and we have already signed three players early on."

Spurs have bought goalkeeper Ben Alnwick from Sunderland, Portugal centre-back Ricardo Rocha from Benfica for £3.3m, and signed French youngster Adel Taarabt on a long-term loan from Lens.

* Reports last night claimed Fulham chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed is considering selling the club for £80m to Iranian-born businessman Kia Joorabchian, who was close to buying West Ham United earlier this season. Joorabchian is said to want Fulham manager Chris Coleman to continue doing an excellent job.