Gareth Bale
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas claims Gareth Bale will stay at White Hart Lane if Champions League football is offered Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas believes finishing the season in the top four will help the north London club retain star player Gareth Bale.

The Welshman has been in impressive form for Spurs this season, scoring 11 goals in 22 Premier League appearances and also scoring in his country's 2-1 win over Austria in a midweek friendly. The 23-year-old has already admitted his desire to play for a foreign club, with Spanish champions Real Madrid interested in signing the left-footed winger.

Villas-Boas claims it would be a difficult task for rival clubs to match the asking price of a player with Bale's form in recent games. The former Chelsea manager believes this situation, along with the promise of Champions League action next season, could help Spurs keep their top asset at White Hart Lane. The north London club are fourth in the league table with 45 points from 25 games and lead Everton by three points.

"Would Champions League qualification secure his future? I think so. This is where most of the clubs want to be, and where most of the players want to play. Can we keep him? Hopefully yes. It's difficult for us to have a player of this dimension playing so well, but in the same way it is difficult for other teams - with the economic situation as it is - to buy a player of this dimension," Villas-Boas explained.

England international Jermain Defoe has been ruled out for three weeks after picking up an ankle injury during last weekend's league tie against West Brom. This means Bale has now stepped into a striker's role and is delighted with the shift. AVB praised Bale's recent form and went on to claim the Welshman was one of the top five players in the league.

"He's having a tremendous year, he's such an outstanding player all round. We saw yesterday his performance was outstanding once again [for Wales] and I think he's really enjoying his football. Is he the best in the league? It's very difficult, there are lots of players in contention for an award like that. I think he's certainly amongst the five best players, for sure," the Spurs manager added.