Tottenham's record signing Roberto Soldado hopes Gareth Bale stays at White Hart Lane this season - but does not expect that to happen.
Bale is reportedly close to joining Spanish giants Real Madrid for a world-record fee, and Soldado, who will complete a £26m move from Valencia to Spurs later today, believes the transfer will happen.
"I think everybody knows about Gareth Bale," the Spain international was quoted as saying by the Metro. "He’s a great player. It will be hard to keep him but I hope he stays with Tottenham."
Soldado was speaking at Valencia airport ahead of today's medical. The 28-year-old leaves La Liga after an impressive three-year spell with Los Che, in which he scored 80 goals in 146 games.
But despite his goalscoring exploits with the Spanish club, Soldado has not left on the best of terms.
"I'm leaving because I don't trust in the new (Valencia) project," he told reporters. "The president all this time was telling me lies several times since I talked to him on the phone.
"This decision was mine entirely and my family, no-one was pushing me to go."
Bale, meanwhile, is unlikely to play in Tottenham's showpiece pre-season friendly against AS Monaco on Saturday.
The Tottenham winger is poised to complete a move to the Spanish giants - worth up to £105m - before the end of the transfer window.
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