English Premiership

Spurs avoid Bale distraction

2013-08-24 10:07
Gareth Bale (AP Photo)

London - Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas insists the mounting transfer speculation surrounding Gareth Bale won't prove a distraction in Sunday's Premier League clash against Swansea.

Bale will be absent from White Hart Lane as the Wales winger moves closer to joining Real Madrid for a world record fee of around 85 million.

Speculation was rife on Friday that Bale would be unveiled in Madrid after the Spanish giants erected a stage at their Bernabeu stadium home, but it is believed Spurs are unwilling to rubber-stamp the transfer until they have signed at least one new player to fill the Welshman's position.

And that means Bale's dream move could be on hold for a few more days as Spurs' preparations for Swansea's visit have also played out to the background of Willian's on-off move to the club.

Tottenham believed they had struck a 30 million deal with Anzhi Makhachkala for the Brazil playmaker only for Chelsea to move for the player after Willian had undergone a medical at Spurs.

With a host of other players linked with a move to the club, including Erik Lamela of AS Roma, the meeting with Swansea will provide a welcome distraction for Villas-Boas and his players.

"I don't think the team will be distracted by the transfers. What we've done so far has been great activity," Villas-Boas said.

"We managed to bring in almost all the players we want and will continue to work to strengthen the squad.

"The players look very determined to achieve our objectives this season because of last season's tally of points and not being able to achieve it.

"We will continue to be focused on our objectives, so we transfer back to the Premier League against Swansea which is extremely important.

"The team is changing and adapting to its new players. We are building a very, very strong team for the future.

"Strong teams are consistent when they have their best players available. Our idea is to be stronger even more this year."

Villas-Boas's side come into the game on the back of the impressive 5-0 victory over Dinamo Tiblisi in Georgia.

That added to the optimistic air at the club, generated by the arrival of new signings including Roberto Soldado and Paulinho that have helped ease the frustration at the expected loss of Bale.

But while Tottenham have been identified as potential title challengers by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, Villas-Boas maintains it is too early to tip his team for the top prize.

"I don't agree that we can be title contenders for this season because everything is changing," he said.

"We have to create a team at the moment from all these new players that we have bought. We haven't had lots of time to work with them, but we believe that in the future we can definitely achieve it."

Swansea will be anxious to erase the memory of the painful home defeat to Manchester United on the opening day of the season.

Like Spurs, they enjoyed an emphatic victory in the Europa League in midweek, beating Rumanian side Petrolul Ploiesti 5-1.

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup insisted he had no complaints about having to travel to face one of the Premier League's strongest teams just three days after playing in Europe.

"I'm not complaining about the fixtures," he said.

"You have to play everyone and it will be difficult -- but we are confident going into the game.

"They had a very good squad last season, and they have bought some good players this summer.

"It may be a different Spurs to the one we played last year, but it will still be tough."



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