Andre Villas-Boas: Gareth Bale could be at Real Madrid 'very soon'
LONDON (AP) -- Gareth Bale is close to becoming the world's most expensive footballer after Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said Wednesday that the forward's drawn-out transfer to Real Madrid could happen "very, very soon.''
The Wales international has until Monday to complete his move to the Spanish capital during the summer transfer window.
But, despite Bale having around three years remaining on his Tottenham contract, the Premier League club is willing to sell its star player having spent the offseason strengthening the squad in readiness for his exit.
Villas-Boas said Bale's deal is likely to be "the biggest transfer in world football,'' exceeding the 93 million euros ($124 million) Madrid paid for Cristiano Ronaldo four years ago.
"At the moment, the two clubs are speaking - Tottenham and Real Madrid - to outline the final decisions or statements of contracts,'' Villas-Boas said. "I am not sure how much time it will take. It could happen very, very soon.
"But it might not happen so soon, so I suppose it could go to the last days or it could happen in the next two days.''
It was the first time Tottenham had publicly acknowledged that the widely anticipated move is drawing to a conclusion.
Although Villas-Boas said "if it happens, we wish him all the best,'' Tottenham is unhappy that Bale hasn't attended training as required on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"The fact that he hasn't turned up is not the correct behavior ... and it's up to the club to decide if it's a fineable offense,'' Villas-Boas said, adding: "It is a dream move for him but I think in the end this could have happened in a different way.''
Bale has not played for Tottenham this season, with Villas-Boas previously saying that a foot injury kept him out of the three matches so far.
But Wales coach Chris Coleman on Wednesday named Bale in the squad for a pair of upcoming World Cup qualifying matches.
"Unless we're told he's unavailable, then he's very much in our plans,'' Coleman said.
Wales will play at Macedonia on Sept. 6 and then host Serbia four days later.
"It's not been easy for (Bale), there's a lot of pressure on him,'' Coleman said. "But he's the type of lad that is very unassuming, he has a calm personality, he's very grounded. I would imagine he wants it concluded like everybody does.''
Tottenham already appears to be using the windfall it expects to receive for Bale, with transfer spending since the end of last season reaching just short of 100 million euros ($133 million) on Wednesday.
The latest arrival is set to be Erik Lamela, with Roma announcing that it had agreed to sell the Argentina striker to Tottenham for 30 million euros ($40 million), with the fee potentially rising by 5 million euros ($7 million) depending on his success at the London club.
Tottenham is yet to confirm the signing, but the deal could eventually break the club's transfer record.
That has already been broken twice in the last two months.
First, Brazil midfielder Paulinho joined from Corinthians in early July for 20 million euros (then $26 million).
That fee was eclipsed by Tottenham meeting the 30 million euros ($40 million) release clause to sign Spain striker Roberto Soldado from Valencia.
France defensive midfielder Etienne Capoue has also signed for around 11 million euros ($15 million) from Toulouse, and winger Nacer Chadli arrived for around 8 million euros ($11 million) from FC Twente.
And the spending doesn't appear to be over yet, with Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen and Steaua Bucharest defender Vlad Chiriches being pursued.
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