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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 10 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jan 15, 2007

Burley determined to keep hold of Bale

Southampton manager George Burley insists the club will hang on to teenage sensation Gareth Bale at least until the end of the season.

Bale has been at the centre of frenzied speculation since the transfer window opened with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and even Real Madrid being linked with the 17-year-old left-back.

But unlike Theo Walcott, Saints' last teenage prodigy who was sold to the Gunners 12 months ago, Bale has 18 months left on his contract and Burley has no intention of letting the Wales international leave in January.

'There is no change in the situation. I spoke to his parents last week and they are very happy,' said Burley. 'Gareth will certainly be here until the end of the season and hopefully a lot longer.'

Saints are reported to have offered Bale a one-year extension - the longest permitted at his age - but the club have so far refused to confirm a deal is on the table.

'We are talking to him and hopefully we can extend his contract, but he is certainly going to be a Southampton player until the end of the season,' added Burley.