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Bale's move to Real Madrid draws closer

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LONDON (AP) - Gareth Bale is close to becoming the world's most expensive soccer player.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said Wednesday the forward's transfer to Real Madrid could happen ``very, very soon.'' The Wales star has until Monday to complete his move to the Spanish power during the summer transfer window.

Bale has about three years remaining on his Tottenham contract. But the Premier League club is willing to sell him after spending the offseason strengthening the team in anticipation of his exit.

Villas-Boas said Bale's deal is likely to be ``the biggest transfer in world football,'' exceeding the $124 million Madrid paid for Cristiano Ronaldo four years ago.

``At the moment, the two clubs are speaking - Tottenham and Real Madrid - to outline the final decisions or statements of contracts,'' Villas-Boas said. ``I am not sure how much time it will take. It could happen very, very soon. But it might not happen so soon, so I suppose it could go to the last days or it could happen in the next two days.''

It was the first time Tottenham had publicly acknowledged the widely anticipated move is drawing to a conclusion.

Although Villas-Boas said ``if it happens, we wish him all the best,'' Tottenham is unhappy that Bale hasn't attended training as required on Tuesday and Wednesday.

``The fact that he hasn't turned up is not the correct behavior ... and it's up to the club to decide if it's a fineable offense,'' Villas-Boas said.

Bale has not played for Tottenham this season, with Villas-Boas previously saying that a foot injury kept him out of the three matches so far. But Wales coach Chris Coleman on Wednesday placed Bale on the squad for a pair of upcoming World Cup qualifying matches.

``Unless we're told he's unavailable, then he's very much in our plans,'' Coleman said.

Wales will play at Macedonia on Sept. 6 and host Serbia four days later.

``There's a lot of pressure on him,'' Coleman said. ``But he's the type of lad that is very unassuming. He has a calm personality, he's very grounded. I would imagine he wants it concluded like everybody does.''

The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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