Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has revealed Manchester United tried snatching Gareth Bale away from the Los Blancos and were ready to pay more than the La Liga giants.
There were speculations that an unnamed other club had entered for the race for the then Tottenham Hotspur winger during the long drawn out summer transfer saga, with the Old Trafford outfit and French Ligue 1 side Paris St-Germain mentioned as ring-leaders.
During an hour long interview with Spanish radio show El Larguero on Monday, Perez suggested that Bale’s own desire to join Real proved pivotal to the success of the deal.
“I believe that Tottenham truly did not want to sell him,” Perez said. “We respected that they did not want to sell him. We found out at a certain moment that Manchester United were going to make an offer. That is when we made ours. The player heard about that, and since he was small he has been a Madrid fan. His dream was to play for Madrid, and when he heard we had made a good offer for him, he did everything possible to come here.”
The Madrid club chief further reiterated the club did not pay over the odds for Bale despite the 24-year-old costing a world-record fee.
“Bale has come cheaply,” Perez added. “I have not said the amount. Every time there is talk of figures, the figures which someone wants to come out are those that come out.
“Signing the best player out there is Madrid’s philosophy and Bale was the best available player on the market this summer. We had been following him for years.”
However Bale’s transfer to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu has drawn discordant price quotations from both Spanish and English media with one agreeing it was just one of those ‘hefty’ (€91m) deals while the other believes it was a world-record deal (€101m).
Meanwhile, Manchester United boss David Moyes has refused to comment on Perez’s claims that United made a massive late bid to snatch Bale from under the Spanish giants’ nose.
“If I was I wouldn’t tell you,” said Moyes at a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Capital One Cup tie with Liverpool. “We don’t talk about it.
“We only talk about the players we think there is a reason to talk about and I wouldn’t comment on that.”