By Avi Creditor
NBA star Steve Nash has urged Tottenham not to sell Gareth Bale, insisting the club will struggle to succeed in the Welshman's absence.
Goal revealed on Wednesday that Spurs have opened talks with Real Madrid over a deal worth a record-breaking £100 million.
Nash, a life-long Tottenham fan, recognises that it would be hard for Bale to turn down the opportunity to join the Liga giants, but feels chairman Daniel Levy can afford to reject Madrid advances and strengthen the squad with the forward.
"I'd rather he stuck around," Nash told Goal. "That is a lot of money, but for me you can't replace a player like that. You want to keep guys like that. I think we can afford to sign players and keep him. It's going to be more difficult [to succeed] if you lose Gareth Bale.
"It looks as though he'll probably go. If they say it's now or never, it's going to be hard for him to turn it down."
Discussing Tottenham's other talents, Nash reserved special praise for fellow American Clint Dempsey, who he feels is a vital part of Andre Villas-Boas' squad.
"I think he's a fantastic player," Nash said. "I don't know that he was fully embraced by Spurs fans at the beginning, but he won a ton of them over.
"He's such a clever player who never shies away from how big the moment is. He pops up and scores big, important goals. You've always got a chance to win a game when Clint is on the field.
"I think the manager [Andre Villas-Boas] really likes him. He's the kind of player you only sell if you're bringing in a world-class player at his position."