TOTTENHAM great and former Newcastle manager Chris Hughton believes star man Gareth Bale will reject overtures from Europe’s elite even if Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League.
Hughton admits tonight’s showdown with bitter rivals Arsenal will go a long way to deciding whether Harry Redknapp’s men, who lie fifth, can usurp Manchester City and claim fourth place.
But he insists the likes of PFA Player of the Year Bale, for whom top Spanish and Italian clubs are believed to be ready to offer £40m, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart will stay loyal regardless.
“The genuine feeling I have is that the big players have really enjoyed being involved in a club making really good progress,” Hughton told City A.M.
“The important thing is that they don’t stand still and, if it’s not this season, that they keep pushing and developing for next season.”
Hughton, who spent 28 years at White Hart Lane as a player and coach, rates City favourites for fourth place because of Tottenham’s testing run-in, which includes trips to Eastlands, Chelsea and Liverpool. Before that they host crestfallen Arsenal, whose season has unravelled in recent six weeks, although Hughton has warned his old team to beware a backlash.
“The reason Arsenal are the force they are is that they’re capable of producing the goods,” he added. “These are the type of games where form can go out of the window.”
The title might be slipping away, but Hughton insists the Gunners will still be desperate to win iand stay in front of Chelsea, who are two points behind in third place.
“There’s a lot hinging on this and Arsenal want to do well in the Barclays Premier League,” Hughton says. “That can be winning the league but it can also be about securing second.”
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Chris Hughton was speaking on behalf of Barclays Ticket Office, which is giving fans the chance to win a pair of free Barclays Premier League tickets every 90 minutes throughout the 2010-11 Barclays Premier League season. Request a receipt from any Barclays ATM to enter, or visit www.barclaysticketoffice.com