Gareth Bale is poised to commit his immediate future to Tottenham Hotspur after agreeing improved terms in principle to remain at White Hart Lane despite the club's failure to reach the Champions League.
The deal is expected to include a release clause for bids over £50m that can be triggered at the end of next season.
Spurs' victory over Sunderland on Sunday was in vain as André Villas-Boas's team ended the season in fifth place, just behind their bitter rivals Arsenal, despite amassing 72 points. Missing out on Europe's lucrative elite competition has serious implications for the club's revenue streams, and left Tottenham vulnerable to bids for their better players.
The chairman, Daniel Levy, has indicated, though, that he will endeavour to add to the squad before next season. Giving Bale, the Professional Footballers' Association player of the season and young player of the season, terms worth about £150,000 a week would be a serious statement of intent given that a number of suitors, not least Real Madrid, are interested in buying the Wales international.
The 23-year-old scored 31 times for club and country this season, including Sunday's winner, but has always indicated a willingness to stay.
Tottenham are confident they can price many of the forward's admirers out of the market but the release clause would allow Bale and his club to review the situation at the end of next season. The hope is that the club will qualify for the Champions League next time.
The forward joined the rest of Villas-Boas's squad in flying to the Bahamas on Monday for a post-season Caribbean tour, which includes an exhibition match against Jamaica on Thursday at the Thomas A Robinson National stadium on Nassau island.
"Will the big clubs be able to lure Bale away? It is very, very difficult to lure a player of [these dimensions] away," said the manager.
"You have to hold on to your best assets. Gareth is travelling with the team. This is an opportunity for him to touch that fan base that he has around the world, so we are looking forward to him coming and competing. All of our players will be coming down. We have a few developmental players and we hope to bring them all so that they can get the experience."
Villas-Boas, who expects Wiliam Gallas to depart under freedom of contract, will discuss the club's plans for the summer with Levy and the owner, Joe Lewis, who is based in the Bahamas over the course of the trip. He hopes to bring in Fabio Capello's former England general manager, Franco Baldini, as a technical director.
"We have been outlining the route ahead for what we want to do in terms of the club structures and hopefully the arrival of somebody else in the structure for the recruitment side, a technical director, so hopefully we can take those steps forward," added the Portuguese.
"We got ever so close, but they (Manchester United, City, Chelsea and Arsenal) will do their job in window, and we will do ours the Tottenham way: scouting properly and look for good grabs in summer window to make it a stronger squad."
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image: © James Boyes