Ferguson rues missing out on Bale signing
Alex Ferguson has spoken of his frustration at missing out on the signing of Gareth Bale, before he moved to Tottenham.
Spurs bought the 23-year-old as a full-back from Southampton in 2007, but the Welshman has since established himself as one of the leading attacking players in Europe, hitting 20 Premier League goals this season as Spurs chase qualification for the UEFA Champions League.
Bale's stellar performances have attracted rave reviews throughout the campaign and he swept the board in terms of the end-of-season individual awards, picking up the PFA Players' Player of the Year, PFA Young Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year prizes.
This has inevitably led to speculation regarding his future, with the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich thought to be weighing up bids to prise him away from White Hart Lane in the coming months.
However, while the price quoted for Bale's signature in 2013 is thought to be upwards of 50 million pounds, Ferguson has revealed he tried to take the player to Old Trafford for significantly less before Spurs purchased him.
"We were disappointed in Southampton at the time because we were first there and they never came back to us," the Manchester United manager said.
"He reminds me a bit of when we signed Lee Sharpe. He was a six-foot, gangly, slim boy, but all of a sudden he was built like a light-heavyweight boxer.
"Bale is the same in the way he has developed in the last two years physically. He has matured very well."