Spurs sign Southampton teenager Bale

LONDON Sat May 26, 2007 1:22am BST

Gareth Bale (R) of Wales is marked by San Marino's Matteo Andreini during their Euro 2008 Group D soccer match at the Millennium stadium, Cardiff, on March 28, 2007. Spurs have signed Southampton's left back Bale, the Premier League club said on their Web site on Friday. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Gareth Bale (R) of Wales is marked by San Marino's Matteo Andreini during their Euro 2008 Group D soccer match at the Millennium stadium, Cardiff, on March 28, 2007. Spurs have signed Southampton's left back Bale, the Premier League club said on their Web site on Friday.

Credit: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

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LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur have signed Southampton's Wales left back Gareth Bale, the Premier League club said on their Web site on Friday.

The Cardiff-born defender, who turns 18 in July, was linked with several top clubs, including Manchester United, during the January transfer window and has opted to join Spurs.

Southampton said in a statement to the Stock Exchange that Bale had been sold for a fee of up to 10 million pounds with an immediate payment of five million pounds.

Bale, who made 45 appearances for Southampton, scoring five goals, became the youngest player to feature for Wales when he came on as a substitute against Trinidad & Tobago last summer.

"I'm just excited to be coming to a big club, a massive club like Tottenham," said Bale. "...Tottenham is a club pushing forward and I want to be part of its future."

He made his first start for Wales at Tottenham's White Hart Lane ground in September 2006 against Brazil and became his country's youngest goalscorer against Slovakia in a European Championship qualifier. He has six caps and two goals.

Tottenham sporting director Damien Comolli added: "We have been following Gareth for a long time now and have been very tenacious, so we are absolutely delighted to get him here.

"He is a player of great quality and, as we always say, our aim in each window is to improve the quality of the squad. He has the ideal combination to become a top, top player."

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