Tottenham would mirror the hard-line stance they took to prevent Luka Modric joining Chelsea last summer – despite the player submitting a transfer request – should Barcelona crystallise their interest in Gareth Bale with a firm bid next year.
The Spanish and European champions are thought to be one of a number of clubs monitoring the Welsh international, with club president Sandro Rosell suggesting this week he "did not know" how interested his manager Pep Guardiola is in the 21-year-old but, tellingly, insisting his side could not meet a postulated £34m asking price. Bale, naturally, is flattered by the link, though he insists he does "not take much notice of what is written about interest from other clubs."
Spurs showed last summer, though, that they are not prepared to be bullied into selling their prized assets, with chairman Daniel Levy and manager Harry Redknapp retaining Modric despite the player's desire to leave and Chelsea's indefatigable pursuit of a deal, with Roman Abramovich bidding as much as £40m for the Croatian.
That is a pattern that would be repeated should Barcelona, or any of their rivals among Europe's elite, come calling for Bale next summer, according to Redknapp's stand-in, Joe Jordan. "That is our stance and that was proved [with Modric]," said the Scot. "It was something that went on too long and it had a draining effect on the player. I am glad it is over with at this moment in time and I think you can see how Luka is performing now, and that is a bonus for all of us."
Spurs' hopes of retaining Bale should the Welshman attract firm bids in the summer, of course, will be greatly strengthened should they be able to offer him Champions League football. The club's annual accounts, released this week, showed that last year's run to the competition's quarter finals raised £37.1m, a sum that proved crucial in offsetting the increased costs associated with building a team capable of playing in Europe. Spurs' operating expenditure rose to £131.2m, meaning that Champions League revenue was the difference between a narrow profit and a substantial loss.
"The Champions League means huge money for the club," said Jordan. "The rewards are there as well, because it means that while we have the players now, we could also keep them and entice them in. Players want to play at that level. That is what you are striving for."Reuse content