TENSE MOMENT: Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas Boas, right, and Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger during their English Premier League soccer match at White Hart Lane in London on Sunday. Picture: REUTERS
Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas Boas, right, and Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger during their English Premier League soccer match at White Hart Lane in London. Picture: REUTERS

LONDON — Tottenham Hotspurs manager Andre Villas-Boas has refused to be drawn any further on the future of Gareth Bale, who is widely expected to make a record switch to Real Madrid before the September 2 transfer deadline.

"The only thing I can say about the stories is I am not going to comment, because everybody has speculated a lot," Villas-Boas said. Bale was missing once again from the Spurs line-up as the Londoners ended their preseason programme with a 1-1 draw against Espanyol at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

"There are some different stories, some which are not true, with people inventing without knowledge of what is going on," Villas-Boas said. "The only thing I can tell you is the player is under the treatment of the medical department for this pain in the foot which is disturbing him."

Bale has a foot injury and missed the Espanyol game where summer signing Roberto Soldado marked his home debut with a goal from the penalty spot.

"He has been called up by Wales (for a midweek friendly against the Republic of Ireland)," Villas-Boas said. "O ur medical department is going to be in contact with the Wales (national team’s) medical department to make sure they have everything available in terms of giving information on how the player has been doing in these last weeks.

"Regarding the speculation, I don’t want to extend myself further than I have told you."

After narrowly missing out on Champions League qualification last season, Spurs have spent an estimated £50m to improve their squad during the close season, including a club-record £26m to prise Soldado from Valencia.

Soldado told ITV: "Of course, it’s always what a striker wants to do, score goals, and hopefully this is the first of many more to come." Paulinho, a £17m capture from world champions Corinthians, thought he had made a perfect start to his Spurs debut, but his sixth-minute header from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick was ruled out for a marginal offside.

Soldado threatened with a flicked header, before opening his Spurs account from the penalty spot in the 29th minute after left-back Danny Rose had been sent flying by Javi Lopez.

The home side could not hold out until half-time, however, as the unmarked David Lopez headed in a near-post equaliser from Pizzi’s right-wing corner in the 44th minute.

Both teams made multiple substitutions in the second period.

Sapa-AFP