Gareth Bale: A Missed Opportunity
Gareth Bale could have transferred four years ago to Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson confessed that the Red Devils made “a good offer” to Southampton. Unfortunately for United, Spurs offered Southampton a better deal, to lure the wonderkid to White Hart Lane.
According to The Guardian, Sir Alex confessed:
“We tried to sign him as a 17-year-old, but it never got to the stage of talking to the player. They didn’t accept our offer and I think they must have alerted Tottenham. I don’t know the full circumstances but, listen, you try to get the best deal you can. We made a good offer but they turned it down.”
At that time, Sir Alex considered Bale as an enthusiastic left-back, leaving fans wondering what might have been if the Welshman had joined United. Bale would have had to endure a stiff competition from both Gabriel Heinze and Patrice Evra, if picked for the left-back position. Or perhaps, Sir Alex considered Bale as a long-term replacement for Giggs.
On 25 May 2007, Bale completed a £5 million-move to Spurs (fee that would rise up to £10 million based on appearances and success). A funny thing, Bale made his competitive debut for Spurs on 26 August away against the Red Devils.
Nowadays, Bale is an indispensable member of Spurs, as well as one of the best players both in the Premier League and Uefa Champions League. After scoring three goals at San Siro against Inter, he was praised by teammate Rafael Van der Vaart:
“Everyone is scared of him [Bale]. Maicon is one of the best right-backs in the world — he killed him.”
Speaking about Bale’s performances against Inter, ElMundoDeportivo said:
“Bale combines the height and build of an 800-metre runner like Steve Ovett with the acceleration and directness of a rugby winger like Bryan Habana. And, when he gets to the byline, he delivers curling crosses like a Brazilian. Big words? Yes, but that’s what Bale is like – easily the greatest sensation in the opening month and a half of the Champions League. Ask Maicon what he thinks after the two exhibitions Bale turned in against Inter. Yesterday he left Maicon for dead and then a wily old fox like Lúcio was left in his wake like someone trying to follow the vapour trail of an aeroplane. Three goals and two assists — against the European champions. His performances have been stunning.”
Does Sir Alex regret not signing him a couple of years ago? He sure is. Sir Alex added:
“He came as a left-back back then but Harry Redknapp has found a position for him using the player’s talents, his tremendous speed and the fact he is a great crosser of the ball. Van der Vaart has made a good contribution goals-wise, he has good ability on the ball and he’s been a good signing. But the best contribution, without doubt, has been Bale, who has scored 11 goals, which is a really good return for a wide player.”
Bale’s outstanding performances rank him among the hottest prospect for the summer transfer market of 2011. I leave you fans to answer this question:
What if “The Flying Welshman” signed for the Red Devils a couple of years ago? What if?