Ex-Southampton boss lifts the lid on Man Utd’s failed attempt to sign Bale

09:48 27 February 2013

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale (left) celebrates with team-mate Jan Vertonghen (right). Photo: Adam Davy/PA

PA Wire

Former Southampton manager George Burley has revealed he had a meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson over a move for Gareth Bale before the Welshman joined Spurs back in 2007.

Manchester United boss Ferguson has previously admitted he was interested in signing Bale from Southampton, and Burley – who was Saints boss between 2005 and 2008 – has now explained just how close the Red Devils came to sealing the deal.

“There were a number of clubs chasing Gareth,” Burley said in The Mirror.

“Me and the chairman had a meeting with Sir Alex and their chief executive about going there but I felt that Gareth was as good as Theo [Walcott] or even better so we weren’t going to accept less money.

“He is a player who had that quality. I had every faith in Gareth. I knew how good he was and we weren’t going to let him go for what was offered.”

After a difficult start with the north Londoners, Bale has blossomed. His stunning brace against West Ham on Monday took his tally for the season to 19 and he is being mentioned in the same breath as Cristiano Ronaldo.

Burley added: “I felt it was a little bit of a gamble to move when he left.

“And there is no doubt that the first six months he struggled a bit at Tottenham, but his character shone through and even now all he talks about is keeping improving.

“It is fantastic to see that attitude from a youngster even when people are already talking about him being world class.

“He was always great at free-kicks and he has changed his style.

“He has always bent it up and over and now he hits it with top spin rather than bend. It is unusual for someone with that quality in his game.

“From day one he was always exciting.He wanted to listen, wanted to learn.

“He is stronger now and he is quicker and he is good in the air as well. Free-kicks, corners, great left foot with energy and pace.

“They are not bad qualities to have in your locker.”

Related articles

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Aussie actress Rebel Wilson has revealed that the Pitch Perfect sequel ‘crushes’ the first film.

Read more

Jack O’Connell was very impressed with Angelina Jolie’s attempt at a Derby accent.

Read more

Frankie Bridge may not have lifted the glitterball trophy, but she’s living the dream – both on and off the dancefloor.

Read more

Promoted content

We've got a great selection of Secret Santa presents and stocking fillers for under a tenner...  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Office Secret Santa: it’s a Christmas ritual that everyone dreads, but no-one wants to seem like a Scrooge by saying no. Never fear, London24 is here to make buying gifts for Dave in Accounts simple and stress-free, with a selection of presents for under a tenner

Money saving Christmas gifts to add to your shopping list!

It’s nearly time to go on the hunt for Christmas presents, stuck on what to get for your nearest and dearest? We’ve picked out a selection of great deals to get you started and to help you save some pennies!

It’s a sad day for football fans, but especially Hereford United fans after their club has been wound up by the High Court.

Carols are much more fun when you make them about football.

Two of the league’s least resilient defences face off at Anfield, while Manchester City need someone other than Sergio Aguero to score.

Lewis Hamilton’s metaphor for life is particularly deep, with many turns.