Tottenham boss Andres Villas-Boas has called on star forward Gareth Bale to sign a new contract. The 23-year-old Welsh international has had a superb season in north London, with 20 Premier League goals and four assists from 32 starts. And he recently completed an awards sweep, winning the PFA Player of the Year, the PFA Young Player of the Year and the Football Writers' Association's Footballer of the Year.
"It would be good for him [if he signs a new contract]. It will put the speculation to bed. It would be a reward for what he has achieved this season," the former Chelsea boss said, explaining that signing a new contract would act as a statement of intent to interested clubs.
Bale's form has alerted a number of top clubs, with nine-time European champions Real Madrid most strongly linked to his signature. There has also been interest from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and Spurs' Premier League rivals Manchester United. Although, with Sir Alex Ferguson not in charge for next season and new coach David Moyes believed to be brining Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini with him, it remains to be seen if the Old Trafford club will make an approach for Bale.
Madrid have made no secret of their interest in Bale and the Santiago Bernabeu club's director of football, Zinedine Zidane, has been scouting the Welshman extensively in recent games. The former French international, a legendary figure at the Spanish club, also hinted Madrid would be willing to match the £60m valuation Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has supposedly placed on Bale.
Bale is contracted to the White Hart Lane club until the end of the 2016 season. A new deal will probably extend that by 12 months, at most, but will include significantly improved terms. An earlier IBTimes UK report indicated the winger could nearly double his present £75,000 per week salary, with Tottenham ready to make him the highest paid player in the club's history.
Of course, it remains to be seen if Bale will accept the contract, given it is now unlikely the club will be in the Champions League next season. And Madrid, or even Bayern, would quite easily match Spurs' proposed new salary, as well as offer him the chance to play in Europe's elite club competition.
Tottenham visit Stoke City on Sunday and then face Sunderland the following weekend, in the final two games of their 2012/13 season. They trail Arsenal by a point and Chelsea by two, in the three-way race for the two remaining Champions League slots.