Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he tried to sign Gareth Bale from Southampton back in 2007 – but ultimately missed out on the Welshman, according to the Sunday People.
Bale was one of the most highly-rated young players in the Championship when he broke into the Southampton first-team as a 17-year-old left-back, and a number of top Premier League clubs were reportedly interested in his signature.
The Manchester United boss is set to face Bale as his side take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane today, and Ferguson admitted he tried to buy the Spurs winger when he was a youngster at St Mary's Stadium.
But the Saints rejected United’s approach for the talented young Welshman, who eventually moved to White Hart Lane.
Ferguson said: “We tried to buy him from Southampton and they turned us down. It was not the boy who turned us down, it was Southampton, then a few weeks later he signed for Tottenham.
“It happens. You don’t get them all. As I said before, we would have loved to have got [Paul] Gascoigne but we didn’t.
“But we did get Paul Ince and he was a great player for us. These things happen.”
Tottenham recorded a shock 3-2 victory over United at Old Trafford earlier this season – Bale was on the scoresheet that day – but the Premier League leaders will be looking for a positive result today to re-establish their seven point lead over Manchester City.
Roberto Mancini’s defending Premier League champions chalked up a comfortable 2-0 win over Fulham at the Etihad Stadium yesterday to cut United’s advantage to four points, but Ferguson’s team can stretch their lead with victory this afternoon.