Bale: Stay together and we'll challenge
Gareth Bale believes Tottenham are on the verge of achieving something special, insisting that if key players stay at White Hart Lane then they have a good chance of winning the Premier League title.
Bale, 22, struggled with injuries during the first half of 2011 but, more recently, his performances have improved and he has been showing glimpses of the form that earned him the PFA Player of the Year award last season.
However, Spurs will be aware one of their most prized assets is once again drawing interest from Europe's finest, with Barcelona the latest club voicing their affection for the winger. Chairman Daniel Levy held firm to deny Luka Modric a move to Chelsea in the summer, although it remains to be seen whether the star midfielder will still be a Tottenham player come the end of the January transfer window.
As a number of top clubs continue to track Spurs' best players, manager Harry Redknapp and Levy have a tough job on their hands to keep hold of their stars. Should they manage to do so, though, Bale is confident Spurs can reign supreme in England's top flight, as they did in 1951 and 1961.
"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. 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."
For the moment Bale says he is happy where he is, although he is not ruling out the prospect of moving abroad to fulfil other goals at some stage in his career.
"You look at David Beckham, who has done well in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A and proved himself there," Bale said. "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. I had a really good pre-season and I feel like I'm playing as well as I have ever done."