By Greg Stobart
SPURS ALREADY PLANNING FOR BALE DEPARTURE
Tottenham will do their utmost to keep Gareth Bale at the club beyond next summer but they are very much planning for the Welsh winger's probable departure.
Real Madrid and Barcelona will battle for the £50 million-rated star, with a move to the Spanish capital most likely as Spurs prepare to play hardball over the potential fee.
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Jose Mourinho, the Real Madrid coach, has long considered Bale a potential superstar and has made enquiries for the 23-year-old in the last three summer transfer windows.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has held discussions with the Spanish giants in recent months over Bale's future after the clubs reached a "partnership agreement" following the £32m transfer of Luka Modric to the Santiago Bernabeu in August.
Spurs must qualify for the Champions League to have any chance of keeping their star man - who has three-and-a-half years left on his contract - but the Londoners have put their scouting network into overdrive as they plan how to spend the money from his sale.
Andre Villas-Boas understands that some of the funds will be held back for the club's proposed new stadium but can still expect money for a couple of major signings, with a move for Shakhtar Donetsk star Willian more likely in the summer than January due to the Ukrainian club's progress in the Champions League.
The likes of Joao Moutinho and Christian Eriksen are also big-money targets but both players appear unlikely to move to White Hart Lane in the New Year given the inflated transfer fees during the winter window.
FRYERS DEAL COULD STILL BE RESURRECTED
Tottenham appeared to miss out on Zeki Fryers during the summer when the youngster left Manchester United at the end of his contract to sign for Standard Liege on a two-year deal.
The left-back had been widely expected to sign for Spurs, having even played Academy games for them during pre-season, but the north London club were unable to agree a compensation package with United.
Spurs are, however, still in regular contact with the 20-year-old and his representatives and could yet sign Fryers either in January or the summer at a knockdown price.
SHERWOOD MAINTAINS LEVY'S EAR
Tim Sherwood was not given the promotion to director of football predicted by many during the summer but Spurs' technical co-ordinator is very much still part of the club's long-term planning.
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The former midfielder turned down an approach to become the new Blackburn manager in October as Daniel Levy convinced him that he is making progress towards becoming the next Tottenham manager.
Sherwood has been pencilled in for a while as a future manager of the club, having impressed since being brought in by Harry Redknapp in 2008, initially in a coaching role.
While Spurs are looking at the likes of Franco Baldini as a potential technical director, Sherwood is very much part of the club's inner circle and consulted with on potential signings, sales and loan deals.