Spurs star could have moved to United instead, says Ferguson.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed his frustration at missing out on Gareth Bale when he was a youngster at Southampton.
Tottenham signed the Welshman when he was just 18, and he has gone on to become a Premier League star, winning this season’s Player of the Year awards and attracting interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Bale was highly rated as a youngster at Southampton, attracting interest from several top clubs, but United boss Ferguson insists he was one of the first to make an offer for him, which the Saints never responded to.
Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: “We were disappointed in Southampton at the time because we were first there, but they never came back to us.
“It was not the boy who turned us down, it was Southampton, then a few weeks later he signed for Tottenham Hotspur.”
Bale was initially brought to White Hart Lane as a defender, starting his career at left-back before moving forward to the wing, and Ferguson praised former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp for this transformation that has seen the 23-year-old become a world class player.
“He was a left-back when we tried to sign him,” he said. “It wasn’t until Harry went to Tottenham that he converted him into a wide left player.”
Bale’s displays this season saw him edge out United’s Robin van Persie for the Player of the Year awards, and Ferguson says he has no complaints over his star striker missing out to the Spurs wide-man.
“Maybe Robin is a little bit unlucky in that he hit a quiet spell for a while and didn’t score at the time Bale was bashing them in from all sorts of distances, so he had the edge.
“I don’t think you could dispute it (the vote). Some of the goals Bale has scored this year have been fantastic.”