Villas-Boas resigned to Bale exit

MERRY-GO-ROUND::While Gareth Bale looks to be headed to Real Madrid, Tottenham have signed Erik Lamela from Roma, who have pounced for Fiorentina’s Adem Ljajic

AFP, LONDON and MILAN, Italy

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 - Page 18

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas was resigned on Wednesday to seeing star forward Gareth Bale leave for Real Madrid as the Welshman’s replacement, Erik Lamela, headed toward White Hart Lane, but Villas-Boas said Spurs would still consider fining Bale after he did not turn up at the north London club’s training ground on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

“He is involved in a big transfer move to Real Madrid and in the end if it happens, we wish him all the best, but the fact that he hasn’t turned up is not the correct behavior,” Villas-Boas said at a press conference.

“That is the position they chose to take and it’s up to the club to decide if it’s a fineable offense,” the Portuguese added.

Villas-Boas confirmed Bale was on the brink of joining Spanish giants Real.

“It could happen very, very soon,” he said.

Villas-Boas added he did not expect to see Bale at Tottenham’s training ground again.

Under Professional Footballers’ Association rules, a player can only be fined two weeks’ wages, which in Bale’s case amounts to about £160,000 (US$248,000).

Although nine-time record European Cup winners Real first indicated their interest in the currently injured Bale two months ago, the 24-year-old — who scored 31 goals for club and country last season — has still to complete his move to Spain.

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti angered Tottenham by speaking of Bale as though he had already joined the Spanish club while erecting a stage at the Santiago Bernabeu for the presentation of the Welshman as one of their players.

“I cannot comment on actions that another club has taken, I showed my disappointment before and I think Carlo did extremely well because he didn’t speak about Gareth again after the first time,” Villas-Boas said.

“Whether it’s responsible or irresponsible, I don’t care,” he added.

Wednesday also saw Wales manager Chris Coleman include Bale in his squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia.

Coleman, keen for Wales to finish third in Group A to secure an easier draw ahead of an expanded Euro 2016 tournament, was concerned as to how the drawn-out saga of the proposed move to Real would affect Bale.

“I don’t have to say how important Gareth Bale is to us, so it’s a worry for us, for me, that we don’t know if he is staying or going,” Coleman said. “It’s worrying not just for him physically, because he has not played any football, but also psychologically. It’s always unsettling.”

“I’ve been a player on the verge of a move, albeit nothing on this scale, so I know it’s not easy for him,” Coleman said. “It would affect anyone. We’re talking about a world-record transfer to one of the biggest clubs on the planet, so I am sure, psychologically, it is not easy for him. I just hope and pray we get him for these two huge games.”

Meanwhile, AS Roma revealed Lamela would be moving to Spurs for 30 million euros plus a potential 5 million euros more in bonuses.

Despite spending a month out injured during last season, Lamela scored 15 times in 33 games for Roma to finish as Serie A’s joint-fifth top scorer and his club’s second behind Pablo Osvaldo (16).

Roma also issued a statement to say that they had agreed to pay 11 million euros to ACF Fiorentina for Serbia international striker Adem Ljajic, plus up to 4 million euros more in bonuses.