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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 10:53 GMT
Saints say Bale is not for sale
Southampton defender Gareth Bale
Bale is grabbing the attention of several Premiership clubs
Southampton have again moved to dismiss speculation over the future of young defender Gareth Bale.

Wales international Bale, 17, has been linked to a 7m move to a Premiership club in the January transfer window.

A Saints statement said: "In order to end such speculation the club wishes to make it clear there is no truth whatsoever in rumours he will leave.

"Neither is the club endeavouring to move him on in the forthcoming January transfer window."

Saints statement of intent on Bale comes ahead of next week's shareholders' annual general meeting.

Southampton chairman Michael Wilde was forced to deny Saints will cash in on Bale to raise transfer funds for boss George Burley's promotion push.

"Stories we have to sell Gareth in order to buy players are simply not true.

"We're trying to build a team to get promoted and you don't do that by selling your best players."

Bale is Wales' youngest international player, having won four caps so far, and is said to be attracting the attention of several Premiership clubs.

The young defender, who has scored three Championship goals this season, is also said to be a target of Arsenal, who mounted a 12m raid on Saints last season for Bale's former team-mate Theo Walcott.

Wilde added: "The January transfer window is an opportunity to improve the first-team squad.

"If any players leave at that time it will be with the approval of the manager if he feels they are not part of his plans.

"The manager's aim is to have a squad of around 25 players but some fringe players may move on if it benefits all parties, including the player himself.

"Income received from player sales will go towards new players but it doesn't mean this will be the only funds available to the manager."

SEE ALSO
Bale agrees new Southampton deal
17 Jul 06 |  Southampton
Bale savours record Wales debut
28 May 06 |  Internationals


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