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Players won't let Bale speculation distract: King

Real Madrid are pursuing the Tottenham midfielder Gareth Bale but Spurs star King says this is not a distraction

Reuters, Wednesday 7 Aug 2013
Gareth Bale
Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale (Photo: AP)
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Former Spurs and England defender Ledley King says speculation over the future of star player Gareth Bale will not distract the team ahead of the upcoming Premier League season.

Real Madrid are pursuing the Tottenham midfielder with what is believed to be a world record transfer bid in excess of $130 million, with the 24-year-old Welshman reportedly keen to move to the Bernabeu.

English Footballer of the Year last season, Bale signed a new four-year contract with the north London club last year and was their outstanding player, although Spurs missed out on a Champions League place by one point.

While club ambassador King, who retired last year due to chronic knee injuries that plagued his career, would not speak directly about Bale, he said the squad would not let the uncertainty distract ahead of the new season.

"No, as a player you're used to this. Players don't enjoy this period of time anyway, you just want the (transfer) window to be shut, obviously with what you're doing as a squad and moving forward," he told a small group of reporters.

"But as players you are used to this time of season, you wish the window was a little bit shorter and everything was out of the way. But everyone is professional, the window is what it is. There is always going to be speculation around top players, that's the world we live in."

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said last week that the La Liga club were in talks with Spurs to buy Bale, with media reports suggesting a fee in excess of 85 million pounds ($130.76 million).


Despite an absence of Champions League football and questions over Bale's future, Spurs have still managed to add Valencia striker Roberto Soldado for a club-record transfer of 30 million euros ($39.93 million), Brazil midfielder Paulinho from Corinthians, in a deal worth 17 million pounds ($26.06 million), and Belgium winger Nacer Chadli from Dutch side Twente Enschede.

King, speaking at the launch of Tottenham Turfies, an interactive gaming platform for children under 10, said Soldado could provide the goals that could help Spurs back into the top four and the Champions League.

"Goals are very important and to have someone that can provide 20-plus goals a season, Gareth did that last season, and if you can get another player who can do that it could prove the difference."

He did not rule out further additions to the squad, with injuries to Jan Vertonghen and Michael Dawson and the departure of Steven Caulker to Premier League newcomers Cardiff City leaving them short in defence.

"I'm sure that's a position the manager (Andre Villas-Boas) will be looking at. Obviously Steven Caulker has left the club and we're not sure about Jan and Daws, hopefully they will be fit for the start of the season. But with Steven going we'll be looking to bring someone in."

Having seen plenty of managers come and go since making his Premier League debut for Spurs in the 1998-1999 season, King said the club were in a good space with Villas-Boas able to make his mark on the team heading into his second season in charge.

"It's important for a manager to have time," he told Reuters.

"Too often we've seen mangers get little to no time to make their stamp on the team.

"It's important that the manager's had a good year, identified his targets that he wants to bring into the club and the players that you need to move on. He has had a bit of time to do that now, brought in three new players this season that are really going to make a difference to the squad, they are top quality players."

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