Date: 1st February 2007 at 6:19pm
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Gareth Bale decided to stay at Southampton at least until the end of the season. The Sun believes he will join United in the summer.

The 17-year-old Welsh international is one of the greatest talents in British football right now. A host of clubs have shown an interest in him, including Real Madrid. Manchester United and Tottenham were tipped to battle for his signature.

At one stage, the tabloids claimed it was a done deal and Bale would join United. Then it took another twist, and Spurs seemed to have won the race, offering 10 million. But deadline day passed, Bale decided to stay and Southampton manager George Burley, unsurprisingly, backed his deicision.

Of course that does not stop speculation and it’s believed he snubbed Spurs only to join us in the summer. He is thought to be keen on a move and Sir Alex Ferguson is allegedly seeing him as the long-term successor of Ryan Giggs. As Bale was playing as a left-back during his career so far, he would have to be converted to this new role.

But Burley wish all the speculation to stop, for he reckons these disturb and unsettle his player.

‘I said all along Gareth would stay with us at least until the end of the season.

“His parents are happy for him to continue to learn here and are pleased he`s getting a regular game. It makes sense.

“I know how hard it`s been for Gareth to concentrate with all this transfer talk going on. I`ve had to put an arm round him and give him a hug.”