D-day is looming for Tottenham Hotspur. With just two weeks of the Premier League season to go, the club face huge games that may well shape their short-term future. The stakes are nail-bitingly high. How Tottenham fare in their remaining matches (including a trip to Chelsea) will dictate not only the race for the top four – which is destined to go right to the wire – but perhaps also the future of Gareth Bale, a triple award-winner in recent weeks and the kind of world class talent that belongs on the biggest European stage. If the chips do not fall in the North Londoners’ favour, the last game of the campaign, at home to Sunderland, could be the Welshman’s final appearance in a Tottenham shirt.

Bale’s outstanding season was recognised with a PFA award double, Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, as well as Footballer of the Year as voted by the Football Writers’ Association. His stock has never been higher, with a lethal eye for goal now part of his already dangerous repertoire. Europe’s elite are on high alert, preparing chequebooks, holding discussions and keeping a close eye on whether Tottenham falter down the home straight. Deep down, the powers that be at White Hart Lane will know that the fight to rebuff interest in Bale becomes infinitely tougher if Arsenal and Chelsea sneak into the final Champions League qualification spots.

Having excelled in a more central role this season, Bale has suitors both home and abroad. A player who can keep supporters on the edge of their seats will always lure Real Madrid and Barcelona into the conversation while Manchester United, who have been rather quiet amid Bale speculation, are crying out for his type of attacking flair. Manchester City, of course, remain one of the favourites to produce the type of bid that will force Tottenham into serious deliberation.

Meanwhile, Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has done his best to downplay the possibility of Bale leaving White Hart Lane, regardless of where the club finishes.

"The information that I have from the club, which was mistakenly written about last week, is that the player is here to remain, independent of the objectives of Champions League qualification being achieved or not", the Portuguese clarified. "I would be extremely surprised [if he left]. In football, anything can happen. It’s impossible to predict, but this is the assurance I have had from the club."

But this is the expected stance from Tottenham at this point. If Villas-Boas’ men finish fifth, the conversation may yet change. Having said that, Bale has formed a strong relationship with his manager, who has given the Welshman the freedom to take his game to the next level.

"I don’t think he got given the time at Chelsea, but since he came to Tottenham, he’s been amazing", Bale explained. "All the hard work he puts in is amazing. We tried things in pre-season and spoke about things. Bringing me inside was one of them and obviously that has been a good decision in the end."

In assessing the decisions that lie ahead for Tottenham, it is hard to ignore the perception struggles that Arsenal have faced since their exodus of stars began. Thierry Henry swapped Arsenal for Barcelona, opening the door for Cesc Fabregas to head for the same destination, Samir Nasri to join Manchester City and Robin van Persie to take centre stage at Manchester United. These four sought out the nearest exit and have not looked back since, all winning a domestic title with their new clubs. Should Tottenham miss out on the top four and feel they have no choice but to accept one of the many bids that would follow for Bale, they face the prospect of immediately being placed in the "feeder club" bracket that the Gunners appear unable to escape. This is the type of thought that will be keeping Tottenham supporters awake at night. After all, no transfer fee could fully replace everything that the 23-year-old brings to the table.

For now, Bale is fully focused on the all-important league games ahead, but he is clear on what Tottenham have been targeting all year. "We set out at the start of the season wanting to qualify for the Champions League minimum", he recalled. "We can still reach our objectives. We’re playing some good stuff – we just need to keep focused now." Should Tottenham fall short of that goal, Bale may still be sampling Champions League action next season, but elsewhere.

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