Gareth Bale believes Tottenham Hotspur have what it takes to challenge for the Barclays Premier League title this season and end 50 years of hurt for the north London side.
Bale has been in sensational form so far this season and has been central to the run of form that has seen Spurs move up to third in the table, just four points behind second placed Manchester United with a game in hand.
Harry Redknapp's side are unbeaten in nine Barclays Premier League games having secured 25 of a possible 27 points since their 5-1 defeat against Manchester City in August, and further demonstrated their title credentials with a comfortable 2-0 win over Aston Villa at White Hart Lane on Monday, prompting the Spurs boss to suggest they could go all the way this season.
Spurs endured a slow start to the season, with Redknapp pointing to Chelsea's interest in signing key midfielder Luka Modric as a contributing factor to their heavy defeats at the hands of both Manchester United and Manchester City in their opening two games of the season before their remarkable turnaround in form.
Summer signings Emmanuel Adebayor and Scott Parker – who are yet to taste defeat in a white shirt - have been cited as the main reason behind Tottenham's charge into the top four, and Bale believes the key to challenging for honours lies in keeping the current crop of Spurs players as a unit for years to come.
"It is so important that we keep this squad together," he told the Evening Standard. "If we do, then every year we'll keep improving and eventually challenge for the title.
"We're a team who want to keep progressing every year and if we do that, it's going to come to a point where one year we're going to have to win the title.
"This summer, the chairman showed what the club are aiming for by keeping Luka [Modric]. It was a massive thing that he did that because it showed the supporters and the players that the club are still ambitious and still moving forward.
"The main thing at the moment is to be playing Champions League football every year. We're going to try to do that because I know the lads are really disappointed not to be in it this year.
"Whoever comes to White Hart Lane now, we expect to beat them. We've got a great squad, which is also quite a young one, so we can grow together and the belief that we can achieve something is very great.
"Will it be a test to keep the squad together? Definitely but with the new training ground and stadium on the way, we can attract more players. If we're playing in the Champions League every season, we can attract bigger players."
Bale himself has been the subject of some speculation in recent weeks after media reports appeared linking with a move to a host of top European clubs including Barcelona, and while the Welshman admits he is tempted to move away from the Barclays Premier League at some point in his career, he is happy at White Hart Lane for the foreseeable future.
"You look at David Beckham, who has done well in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A and proved himself there," he commented.
"Cristiano Ronaldo has done the same here and in Spain, so you can definitely improve as a player in different footballing cultures and it's something that's exciting.
"It gives you that experience to become a better player and understand the game more. I watch a lot of Spanish football - Real Madrid and Barcelona are always on television - and I watch the odd Serie A game.
"When the Milan and Rome derbies are on, they're great to watch. So I'm still not afraid of the idea of going abroad and if something ever did happen, I wouldn't be frightened to go.
"However, at the moment, I'm really happy at Tottenham. We're doing very well at present and we're going somewhere really good."News Now - Sport News