By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Manchester City are preparing a sensational £45 million January swoop for Tottenham midfielder Gareth Bale, Goal.com UK can reveal.
City have started putting together a player-exchange package for the converted midfielder, who has become one of the most sought-after talents in Europe following his magnificent form in 2010.
City are desperate to rid their wage bill of high-earning fringe players such as Emmanuel Adebayor and Joleon Lescott, who are likely to be offered to Spurs plus cash in return for Bale.
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But White Hart Lane sources insist the Londoners will batten down the hatches and are confident they can fight off any interest in their prize asset from the club funded by Abu Dhabi’s billions.
“There is more chance of us getting relegated this season than selling Gareth Bale,” said one Spurs insider. “Don’t worry, he is going nowhere.”
The club’s confidence derives from their expectation that the 21-year-old will soon sign a whopping new contract that insiders believe could be the most lucrative in the club’s history.
Rocket man | Bale's market value has shot up following stunning displays against Inter
Although the Wales winger put pen to paper on a four-year contract in May which would theoretically keep him in north London until 2014, Spurs wanted to tie Bale down to a six-year deal during the contract talks and it was the player’s camp who insisted on a shorter agreement.
This has convinced the City hierarchy that they could entice Bale to the City of Manchester Stadium, albeit more likely at the end of the season rather in the forthcoming window.
Bale’s value has rocketed since he nailed down a regular starting spot on the left side of midfield at the start of the year, augmented by his sensational back-to-back Champions League displays against European champions Inter Milan.
The continued upward curve of his development and the interest from Europe’s elite clubs, who, apart from City, also include Real Madrid, Manchester United and Inter, has convinced the Spurs hierarchy that they will need greater protection for the left-sided flyer.
United had a £20m bid rejected last summer while Real also made their interest clear and are expected to prepare a huge offer at the end of the season.