Tottenham v Lyon: Remi Garde reveals interest in Gareth Bale
Tottenham v Lyon: Remi Garde reveals he is a long-term admirer of Gareth Bale, going back to the winger's Southampton days
Remi Garde has claimed he was interested in signing Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale when the Wales star was still at Southampton.
Lyon face Spurs at White Hart Lane on Thursday night in the first leg of their last-32 tie in the Europa League.
Bale will be Tottenham’s danger man having scored five goals in his last four matches, taking his tally to 19 for the season.
Lyon’s current youth director Georges Prost held the same position at the Saints between 2002 and 2007, and he told Garde about a young Bale’s prodigious talent.
However, the Lyon manager says the Ligue 1 outfit couldn’t afford the Wales international, who eventually moved to Spurs in a £7m deal.
“Georges Prost worked with Gareth as a youngster at Southampton,” Garde said.
“He told me a few years ago about him, but he was about 16 at the time and he had already made his debut for Southampton. He was a young man but he was already expensive then, too expensive,” said Garde.
“Prost told me how quick he was then, how much skill he was blessed with even at that age, so it’s not a surprise to me to see the top form Gareth has been in. “He is the sort of player that we do need to keep an eye on tomorrow.”
Tottenham v Lyon: Pre-match facts
• Tottenham and Lyon met in the second round of the 1967-68 European Cup Winners’ Cup, Louis Hon’s side overcoming Bill Nicholson’s Spurs on away goals, following a 1-0 win at home and a 4-3 defeat at White Hart Lane.
• Spurs’ only other games against French sides produced a 1-0 aggregate win against Nantes in the 1971-72 Uefa Cup. The north London club have a 100 per cent home record against Ligue 1 opponents.
• Lyon have played 14 games against English teams in total, with the record W3 D6 L5 (W1 D5 L1 at home – W2 D1 L4 in England).
• Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris will be up against the club he left last summer. The France No1 joined Lyon from Nice in 2008, winning the French Cup in his final season before heading to White Hart Lane.