Football: Fulham boss Jol tells Bale to stay at Spurs

LONDON (AFP) - Fulham manager Martin Jol has urged Gareth Bale to remain at Tottenham and become a White Hart Lane legend.

Jol was in charge at Spurs when Bale joined from Southampton and will be reunited with the player when he takes his Fulham side to face Andre Villas-Boas' team in north London on Sunday.

Bale, who will return to the Spurs line-up after missing the Europa League defeat to Inter Milan, is expected to be the subject of big money offers from a number of Europe's top clubs in the close-season.

But his former manager believes the Wales midfielder's interests would be best served by remaining with Spurs.

"I saw Bale at Southampton when he was 15, we followed him and other people came in but I had a few words with his mum to convince him to come to Spurs," Jol said.

"With hindsight it's very satisfying, he's probably the best player in the Premier League at the moment and he shows it week in, week out.

"I played him in his first match against Manchester United and he had better stats than any other player, and he was 17.

"Hopefully for the league and for Spurs he will stay because I think it's a very good club for him. He's getting stronger and stronger and playing in the hole he is probably even better.

"Spurs is a big club with a big fanbase and he could be a legend there. If he decides to go on to bigger things abroad it can be a risk. It comes off sometimes but not always.

"But whatever he decides to do he will have a big future. Hopefully he stays in the league and I can keep enjoying watching him."

Tottenham will go into the meeting with Fulham on the back of an unconvincing display in the San Siro that almost cost them a place in the Europa League quarter-finals.

Villas-Boas' side allowed Inter to recover a 3-0 first leg deficit before eventually progressing to the last eight on the away goals rule despite losing 4-1 on the night.

A meeting with Basel now awaits but the immediate focus is on the visit of Fulham when Spurs hope to bounce back after defeat at Liverpool in their previous domestic league game.

Tottenham lie third in the table, two points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea, and are on course to claim a place in next season's Champions League after the disappointment of missing out last year.

Then, their efforts were undermined by a dip in form during the closing weeks of the campaign and the back to back defeats to Inter and Liverpool have raised fears of a repeat this time around.

William Gallas, though, insists that will not be case and the Spurs defender insists his side's reaction to the experience of the last week will help ensure they remain on course to finish the season on a high.

"I think the manager will have a meeting with us to correct what wasn't good against Inter," Gallas said.

"In the next game it won't happen because all the players know what they have to do, they know that from last Sunday and (Thursday) we didn't play well.

"They know we have to react and all the boys have to react.

"Could there be a repeat of last year? It won't happen. We know we have a great chance to qualify for the Champions League and that we can go very far in the Europa League.

"Sometimes you can have bad moments but we know what we want at the end of the season and everyone will be ready for Sunday."

With Bale back in the side and former Fulham forward Clint Dempsey also available after injury, Villas-Boas's side should present a more formidable attacking threat than they did in Italy.

Dimitar Berbatov will lead the Fulham attack against his former club while Steve Sidwell has been passed fit after picking up a knock at Sunderland.