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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 January 2007, 22:23 GMT
Spurs lead Bale chase - Ferguson
Southampton's Gareth Bale
Defender Bale is Wales' youngest senior international player
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes Tottenham are the favourites to sign Southampton's highly rated teenager Gareth Bale.

The 10m-rated Wales defender has attracted the interest of a host of Premiership clubs.

"Southampton said no to us because they are looking for more money, which they have every right to do," he said.

"I am not exactly sure what Tottenham have offered but they have offered more and that puts them in pole position."

Ferguson has admitted United's preference to do a deal with Southampton based on Bale's future progression could count against them.

"The bid we made for Gareth reflected his potential. There were a series of build-ups in it because we have to protect our own club's assets too," admitted Ferguson.

"We offered an initial fee with add-ons depending on how many games he plays, international caps and so on."

606 DEBATE: Where will Bale end up?

But Ferguson has not given up hope of landing Bale and insisted he was not frightened by the staggering sums now being spent on emerging talent.

"Anyone who guarantees a player first-team football every week is wrong," he said.

"There are so many examples of young players being given a chance at this club, no-one could dispute the fact they will get opportunities. Maybe the boy himself would need to assess that.

"When you are talking about signing young players with potential, you hope your decision-making and your assessment of the player is correct."

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