Gareth Bale put Tottenham under “intense” pressure as the summer saga of his transfer to Real Madrid went on, Spurs coach Andre Villas-Boas has said.
Bale finally confirmed his world record £86 million move to the Bernabeu on Sunday after a summer including reports that he was refusing to talk to anyone at White Hart Lane as the situation dragged on.
Villas-Boas, who has spent heavily in the summer transfer window to reshape Spurs, had stressed that he did not intend to allow the Bale situation to distract him from the work at hand.
But he also voiced irritation at the way in which Real had publicly courted Bale -- who scored 26 goals for Tottenham last season -- and reiterated that theme when he spoke after a meeting of coaches at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
“The pressure we were subjected to by the player was intense,” he said. “The influence of Real Madrid has been very big, and you get to a point where you have to consider if it’s feasible not to accept an offer and whether you can press on with a player in that state of mind.”
However, he conceded that “at the end of the day, it’s up to a player to decide if he wants to stay or wants to go”.
And he added: “Obviously, we should be happy with the transfer fee that was paid. Players want to win championships and I believe that, with Gareth, that is within reach.”
Villas-Boas said he felt the transfer window should be shut sooner in order to avoid the possibility of unsettling transfer sagas continuing into the season.
“The clubs like it as it is, but the coaches are of the opinion that the market should be closed earlier,” he said. “The coaches need time to prepare their teams for the season. Most coaches would like it to be open less time and closed earlier.”
That opinion is shared by Napoli coach Rafa Benitez, who said: “You prepare everything with your players and, one week after, your players can be playing against you.”