Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale has been Tottenham's shining light in recent seasons and the club must keep hold of him this summer. [Reuters]

After the disappointment of once again falling agonisingly short of qualifying for a place in the Champions League, coupled with the fact it was Arsenal that profited from their despair, Tottenham Hotspur fans will hope for some positives this summer.

Andre Villas-Boas will want to further strengthen the squad but his main priority will be to make sure than last season's top scorer Gareth Bale remains at the club beyond August 31st. The rumours of a possible exit have been running all season long and now the summer is upon us it will be a nervous few months for supporters who are desperate to keep their star player. IBTimes UK takes a look at what Villas-Boas must do in order for Spurs to crack the top four.

Business so far

It has all been speculation thus far as Bale has dominated the headlines. There are yet to be any arrivals and no one has departed but that does not mean that there has not been plenty happening behind the scenes. Villas-Boas will undoubtedly be working closely with his fellow coaches to identify possible transfer targets, while chairman Daniel Levy will be astutely analysing whether it would make sense, both financially and from a team perspective, to cash in on Bale.

What they need

When your two first choice strikers combine to score just 16 Premier League goals then it is pretty obvious what is needed. With very little in reserve, Tottenham will need to strengthen their forward line in order to compete with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs. It is no coincidence that United's attacking flair led them to the title so a striker or two will be a priority.

A new left-back may well be high on the wanted list as Benoit Assou-Ekotto fell out of favour with Villas-Boas who also used Kyle Naughton and Jan Vertonghen in the role at various stages of the season. Both are comfortable playing that role but Tottenham may decide they need an out-and-out left-back who can make the role their own.

Spurs have an array of talent in midfield but with question marks over the future of Scott Parker and Jake Livermore, they may decide they need back-up for Sandro who was forced to miss much of the last campaign through injury.

Who could join

Brazilian forward Leandro Damiao has been consistently linked with a summer move after Spurs missed out on signing the youngster in January. The Internacional striker is expected to leave but there will be plenty of competition for his signature from clubs across Europe. Barcelona's David Villa is another being linked with a move to White Hart Lane and he has stated that he will decide his future after the conclusion of the Confederations Cup.

Aside from a new striker, Tottenham have been linked with Southampton's exciting young left-back Luke Shaw as speculation continues that Assou-Ekotto will be shown the door. Wigan midfielder James McCarthy could be available for a relatively low fee after Roberto Martinez's side were relegated from the Premier League, while Blackpool winger Tom Ince is another being linked with a possible move to north London after a wildly successful season at Bloomfield Road.

Who could leave

William Gallas is out of contract in the summer and is unlikely to be offered a new deal, while Assou-Ekotto, Parker and Livermore have all been linked with a move away from the club this summer. There are also a number of fringe players that Spurs will hope they can sell in order to get them off the wage bill. David Bentley and Heurelho Gomes are expected to finally leave on permanent deals, while Tom Huddlestone has admitted that he may need to depart in order to find regular first team football.

There has been plenty of speculation over the future of Adebayor after a disastrous season in which he scored just five Premier League goals but much will depend on who arrives in the summer. The real concern is whether Real Madrid will break the bank and offer a staggering £85m for Bale which has been suggested by the press in Spain. The Welsh winger has stated his desire to remain at the club but Levy must be closely considering his options as any club would find that offer hard to turn down - as proved by United who decided to let Cristiano Ronaldo leave for a similar amount.

What the manager has said

Villas-Boas knows that he cannot compete with big spending Chelsea or Manchester City, but he made it clear that he is after quality players that can further improve the squad. He is also hopeful that he can complete his business early in the transfer window.

"I think the more strong your squad is, the better, and the fact that we have Gareth achieving those individual awards this season is obviously something that other players will recognise as important moving forward," said Villas-Boas.

"This summer, we will be adding quality players, I think. We can't compete at the level that others go for in terms of the big names that are around and the players that you expect to be moved for having done well during the season.

"We are in a different type of market and we have to scout properly to get good names from around the world and the Premier League.

"I think as you will agree we have done things like that in the past and you will also agree that this club has managed to get some great coups at the end of the transfer market. But ideally, when you set up for the first game of the season, to have put the team to bed would be the ideal situation."