Chelsea ready to bid £40m for Bale
Published 23:02 25/04/11 By Martin Lipton
Chelsea are poised to make a £40million bid for Gareth Bale in the summer.
And the Stamford Bridge club believe their hopes of enticing the Welsh wonder away from White Hart Lane can be boosted by beating his current club on Saturday.
A defeat for Tottenham would be a devastating blow to their flickering chances of Champions League football next season.
Bale signed a four-year deal with Spurs last month worth £60,000 per week, and his family are understood to feel his development would be better served by extending his stay in N17.
But the 21-year-old, voted the PFA Player of the Year, has not hidden his desire to play in Europe’s elite competition next season after lighting up the Champions League this season.
Chelsea have three main target areas for the summer, with Ajax right-back Gregory van der Wiel the prime target for that berth and a big-name central midfielder also on the agenda.
The third is a flying winger who can replicate the attacking threat of Jose Mourinho’s title-winning side, who had Arjen Robben, Damien Duff and Joe Cole at their disposal. Bale is seen as the ideal answer.
Tottenham will be reluctant to sell at any price, but persuading Bale - and Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart - to stay will be much harder if they cannot offer Champions League football.
Defeat at Stamford Bridge could see Tottenham overtaken by Liverpool in the battle for fifth - and the Europa Cup place that goes with it - with just a handful of games left.
That knowledge raises the stakes ahead of what is always a fiercely contested derby, especially with Chelsea having to win to retain any hope of roping Manchester Unitd back in the battle for the crown.
Meanwhile, it has been suggested that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich might be having second thoughts over dismissing manager Carlo Ancelotti at the end of the season in light of the upturn since their Champions League exit.
Abramovich was not at Stamford Bridge on Saturday when Fernando Torres finally opened his Chelsea account, although that was not interpreted as a snub.
Ancelotti, who seemed resigned to his fate 10 days ago, has told close friends he wants to stay on next season, although it still seems more likely that he will be the latest casualty of Abramovich’s desperation to land his Holy Grail - the Champions League.