Bale on way as Lamela arrives
Gareth Bale is close to sealing a world-record move to Real Madrid - but he looks likely to leave Tottenham with a hefty fine after angering manager Andre Villas-Boas with his conduct over the last few days.
After two frantic months of speculation, negotiation and gossip, Villas-Boas confirmed that Tottenham and Real Madrid are nearing agreement over Bale's world-record transfer to Spain.
The Tottenham manager said the transfer could happen "very, very soon" and it also emerged that Bale bade farewell to his team-mates last Friday.
Spurs and Bale both wanted the transfer to happen without any acrimony, but that has simply not been possible.
Villas-Boas often spoke about his strong relationship with Bale last season. Their warm embrace following Bale's stunning winning goal against West Ham proved they were close.
That relationship has now broken down, however. Villas-Boas has remained calm throughout the whole saga, but today he made no secret that he has become fed up with Bale's conduct.
Villas-Boas is unhappy that Bale has not turned up to training for the last two days. He thinks the Welshman chose to do so in order to try to push through his move to Spain and it appears that he thinks Bale should now be hit with a fine.
"The fact that he hasn't turned up, I don't think it's the correct behaviour," the Tottenham manager told a press conference that was called to preview the club's Europa League game against Dinamo Tbilisi.
"It's a position of pressure and a statement from the player.
"It's a position they chose to take. It's up to the club now to decide if it's a fineable offence.
"It's up to the club to decide whether or not it's a breach of club rules.
"I've given my opinion on it, it's up to them to decide whether they act on it or not.
"It is a dream move for him but I think in the end this could have happened in a different way."
Under PFA rules, a player can only be fined two weeks' wages, which in Bale's case amounts to around £160,000.
The Tottenham hierarchy will discuss whether to hit the player with the sanction in the coming days.
By the time that fine lands on Bale's doorstep, he looks likely to be in Madrid, however.
Tottenham have already replaced him with Argentinian midfielder Erik Lamela, who has agreed a £25.8million move to White Hart Lane, according to the player's former club Roma.
Villas-Boas has refused to reveal much about Tottenham's dealings with Real throughout the summer, but today he was much more forthcoming about the state of play.
"At the moment the two clubs are speaking to outline the final decisions or statements of contracts," Villas-Boas said.
"It could happen very, very soon. I suppose it could go to the last days or it could happen in the next two days."
"There will be a three-way agreement for the player to go and Tottenham will accept most likely the biggest transfer in world football. Then it will be the end of story."
Villas-Boas usually cuts a diplomatic figure in front of the press, but on Wednesday, cannot wait for the Bale saga to end.
The Portuguese hit out at Real Madrid for their conduct during the transfer, and he also surprisingly lambasted Roy Hodgson over his decision to select Andros Townsend for England.
There even seemed to be a little dig at chairman Daniel Levy over his failure to speak publicly about the transfer.
After spending weeks being peppered with questions about Bale, Villas-Boas' frustration was clear when he was asked to confirm whether other clubs had bid for Bale, as had been reported earlier this week.
Villas-Boas said: "It's not up to me to confirm that... I'm not sure if... the chairman will be (in) the ideal position. Obviously he doesn't sit in this chair to speak to you very often, or never."
Tottenham have already spent a vast chunk of the £86million they are expected to receive for Bale.
Four signings have already arrived and there could be more than three new faces in the squad by the time the transfer window shuts on Monday night.
Villas-Boas, who has recorded three straight wins without Bale, is sure his team will be able to cope without a man who scored 26 goals for the club last term.
"We have a very, very strong team the same," he said.
"If this transfer happens, it will give the opportunity for others to step up their game and I think we have seen that in the last couple of games.
"There has been no disruption. We've been working well, the team is training very, very well and we have had three wins."
Tottenham are in talks with Ajax over the potential signings of Christian Eriksen respectively and Vlad Chiriches is expected to complete his move to Spurs from Steaua Bucharest by the weekend.
And Villas-Boas says even more targets could be signed.
"We will continue re-strengthening the squad," he said.
"Not only those players, others as well."
Villas-Boas believes there is no chance of Spurs signing Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata, though.
"Chelsea wouldn't sell to Tottenham in any way or form, as they think that we are title contenders," Villas-Boas added.