Bale Barca's top transfer target

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Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Gareth Bale is still Barcelona's top transfer target, but the Spanish club are balking at the player's £36m asking price.

The Spurs hotshot is considered by the Barca hierarchy to be an ideal long-term replacement for Eric Abidal, and the club's chief scout Albert Valentin has been keeping close tabs on the former-Southampton player since November.

However, the Welsh winger is under contract at White Hart Lane until 2015 and Spurs would demand at least £36m for their top asset - a price Barcelona are reportedly unwilling to pay.

But reports in Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo suggest that Barca value Bale's versatility along the left-hand side, and the fact that at 22 years old he retains sell-on value.

Similarly, his Welsh nationality is also a plus for the Spanish side, who believe the winger would be less likely to quality for major tournaments - reducing his chances of injury and fatigue.

Tottenham face an anxious wait to find out if they have secured Champions League qualification, and their presence in next year's competition could be the difference between holding onto Bale and his departure.

A Chelsea victory over Bayern Munich on Saturday would bump Spurs into the Europa League, and Bale is thought to be keen to test his ability in Europe's premier cup competition again.

The Tottenham winger first came to Europe's attention with a stunning performance at the San Siro - scoring a remarkable hat-trick and giving Inter Milan's Maicon a torrid time.

An opportunity to play with some of the world's best players and the guarantee of Champions League football could be just enough to tempt Bale to the Nou Camp.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League
Gareth Bale

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