Gareth Bale has said he wants to help Tottenham Hotspur qualify for the Champions League, further raising supporters' hopes that he will resist the overtures of Real Madrid.
"I think that everyone at the club wants us to finish in the top four, the club wants to be in the top four and we need to go one better this season and finish in the top four," Bale said at the launch of Tottenham's new kit.
The 23-year-old has been tracked by Madrid for some time, with the Spanish club handing Zinedine Zidane the task of making the deal happen.
Madrid had their hopes lifted when Jonathan Barnett, the player's agent, appeared on Marca TV at the end of May to say that it would be "an honour" to listen to an offer.
But there is no longer the same optimism and Tottenham continue to insist their star player is staying. When Barnett spoke last week to Marca TV, the station with close links to Real, he said that there had been no offer for his client. "They have to talk between themselves and we will see what happens," Barnett said. "Bale has not said no or yes."
Tottenham hope not only to reward Bale with improved personal terms – he earns more than £100,000-a-week at White Hart Lane – but to impress him with their plans for the future. With the manager, André Villas-Boas, having demonstrated his commitment by turning down the chance to join Paris Saint-Germain, the club have spent £17m to sign Paulinho from Corinthians and are determined to add the striker Christian Benteke from Aston Villa.
Tottenham have watched Benteke since before the turn of the year. He proved to be one of the signings of last season when, following his £7m move from Genk, he scored 23 times for Villa.
Villas-Boas, whose only recognised senior centre-forwards are Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe, has cast the net for new faces, with Tottenham having pursued Leandro Damião of Internacional, Valencia's Robert Soldado, Loïc Rémy of Queens Park Rangers and David Villa, who has now left Barcelona for Atlético Madrid.
Villas-Boas will also trim his squad, with Scott Parker poised to complete a £2m transfer to QPR, where he will link up with Harry Redknapp, the manager who brought him to White Hart Lane. Parker has been aware that he is not a part of Villas-Boas's midfield and his prospects have not been boosted by Paulinho's arrival.