Bale right to stay a Saint, says manager Burley

February 1, 2007

George Burley was not surprised to see Welsh starlet Gareth Bale stay at Southampton as the January transfer deadline day came and went yesterday.

Tottenham and Manchester United made big-money offers for the player last month but the Saints made it clear they did not want to sell and would only do business with a club prepared to loan him back to St Mary's for the remaining 18 months of his contract.

Manager Burley told the club's official website: 'I said all along Gareth would be staying with us until at least the end of the season and hopefully longer so it should not come as a surprise to see him here.

'He is an outstanding player who will move to a top club one day but I have always said the most important thing is what is right for his development.

'I feel he needs another 18 months and to be playing regularly in order for him to progress.

'I have had a long chat with him and his parents. He is a level-headed lad who has not been fazed by the speculation and is very focused on helping this club win promotion.'