Gareth Bale: Tottenham should not fine forward, says John Hartson

29 August 2013 Last updated at 13:37 GMT

Wales coach John Hartson says it would be “ridiculous” should Tottenham decide to fine Real Madrid target Gareth Bale for missing training.

The 24-year-old has failed to report for three days of training this week, and manager Andre Villas-Boas said Spurs will consider fining the forward.

Villas-Boas said Bale’s action was “not the correct behaviour” but Hartson, 38, defended the Wales international.

“I think Tottenham are being a bit ridiculous over that,” he said.

“I don’t think Gareth’s to blame there. Gareth’s probably a bit confused and probably a bit frustrated with what’s going on right now.

“I think it was the sensible thing [to miss training]. If he goes into training, all of a sudden all the cameras are on him and everything else. I think they should cut him a bit of slack.”

Bale has been linked with Real all summer and Villas-Boas says the record-breaking transfer “could happen very, very soon”.

Hartson added: “They’re just about to get £86m for him and they want to fine him an extra couple of hundred grand. I think a little bit of common sense should prevail there.

“He was outstanding for them last season. How many points did he win for Tottenham Hotspur last season on his own basically?

“The fact [is] that they’ve bought four or five players on the back of Gareth Bale.”

Tottenham are reluctant to sell until they have signed a replacement. They have been linked with Roma’s £30m-rated Argentina forward Erik Lamela, but missed out on Brazil midfielder Willian, who joined Premier League rivals Chelsea.

Bale, who joined Spurs in a £10m deal from Southampton in 2007, was named player of the year by both the Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Writers last season after scoring 26 goals for the White Hart Lane side.

He has not featured for Spurs this season and missed Wales’ recent friendly against the Republic of Ireland because of a foot injury.

Wales manager Chris Coleman is hopeful Bale will be available for the World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia in September despite the uncertainty over his club future.

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Gareth Bale would take Madrid move in his stride – John Hartson

30 July 2013 Last updated at 15:42 GMT

John Hartson believes Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale would take a move to Real Madrid in his stride, if it were to happen.

Wales international Bale, 24, has indicated he wants to speak to the Spanish giants.

And national assistant manager Hartson told BBC Wales the star winger has the temperament to handle the pressure.

“It wouldn’t be an issue for Gareth. He’s very level headed, his feet are firmly on the ground,” he said.

“I get to see him close up, obviously, working with him with the Welsh national team.

“He comes along to the squad and he works like all the other players, he gets his head down.

“If he was to go – I’m not saying that he’s going to go – I’m sure he will deal with everything.

“He’s got a great family. He doesn’t come with a big entourage.

“He’s got his agent, he’s got his advisers and he’s a really down-to-earth, level-headed lad and I think whatever Gareth does I’m sure he would have thought long and hard about it.”

Cardiff-born Bale joined Tottenham from Southampton in May 2007 and signed a new four-year contract in June 2012.

He went on to enjoy his most successful season for the club in 2012-13, scoring 26 goals and being named Premier League player of the year and young player of the year.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has insisted Bale is not for sale and says talks about a new deal are ongoing.

Spanish daily newspaper Marca claims Tottenham are demanding a fee of 145m euros (£125m), and former Spurs manager David Pleat told BBC Sport he felt Bale was “too young to move” and that it would take £100m to prise Bale from White Hart Lane.

Real Madrid are yet to submit a formal offer for Bale but 38-year-old Hartson, capped 51 times by Wales, says he is not surprised by the interest, although he admits he thinks the figures being quoted are “absurd”.

“He’s a phenomenal player, very explosive, very quick, clever and he’s got everything as a footballer that you require so it doesn’t surprise me,” said the former Celtic striker.

Continue reading the main story

Who’s to say what Bale’s worth?

George Burley Gave Bale his debut

“That’s where we are in the current world market – £95m or £100m is absolutely absurd.

“Christiano Ronaldo went for £80m three seasons ago. Luis Suarez, if he was to leave Liverpool, would probably look for £50m for starters.

“It’s crazy money, but that’s where we are.”

George Burley, who gave Bale his first team debut for former club Southampton in April 2006, said it was hard to put a price tag on the 24-year-old.

“At the time we had a lot of good young players thanks to the youth policy, but Gareth always showed the biggest promise. He’s always had that exciting talent, he’s level headed and always wanted to listen,” Burley told Sport Today on BBC World Service.

“Last season was incredible, playing in different positions and scoring some of the best goals you’ll ever see.

“He wants to keep pushing his career forward. Who’s to say what’s he’s worth?”

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