Scot tried to sign wide man six years ago.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed how close the Premier League champions came to signing winger Gareth Bale before he opted to join Tottenham Hotspur instead, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Bale, 23, has just been crowned the Football Writers’ Player of the Year to go along with the Professional Footballers’ Player of the Year gong that he also picked up recently.
However, the Wales international could have been playing at Old Trafford had his former club Southampton agreed to do business with the Red Devils six years ago, rather than sell the wide man to Tottenham instead.
In the end, the Saints agreed to sale Bale to the north London club for just £7 million in May 2007 and the rest, as they say, is history.
And, after a difficult start to his career at White Hart Lane, Bale has since since featured in 200 games for Spurs, scoring an eye-catching 53 goals in all competitions in the process of becoming one of the Continent’s most sought-after players.
“We were disappointed in Southampton at the time because we were first there, but they never came back to us,” Ferguson said.
“It was not the boy who turned us down, it was Southampton, then a few weeks later he signed for Tottenham Hotspur.
“He (Bale) was a left-back when we tried to sign him. It wasn’t until Harry (Redknapp) went to Tottenham that he converted him into a wide left player.
“He reminds me a bit of when we signed Lee Sharpe. He was a six foot, gangly, slim boy, but all of a sudden. he was built like a light heavyweight boxer.
“Bale is the same in the way he has developed in the last two years physically. He has matured very well.”