Sunday 12 October 2014 22:23, UK
Martin Jol claims he was offered the opportunity to sign Gareth Bale for just £5million while in charge of Hamburg.
Jol was the man to take Bale to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007, with a £7million deal struck with Southampton for the exciting teenage talent.
The Welshman was, however, to find it difficult to make his mark at White Hart Lane, with Spurs seeing him as more of a left-back than a jet-heeled winger.
With the youngster out of favour and struggling for game time, chairman Daniel Levy looked to find a buyer in 2008/09.
Jol, as a known admirer of Bale’s talent, was sounded out, but Hamburg were unable to find the required funds.
That left Bale in north London and, with his potential finally unlocked, he became the world’s most expensive footballer when joining Real Madrid for £85million in the summer of 2013.
Jol told talkSPORT: “Bale’s outcome at Spurs could have been a lot different.
“Spurs saw Bale as a left-back, but he probably wasn’t the best left-back in the world.
“He was more creative, he had electric pace, so everybody saw that he was more suited as a forward player, and Harry Redknapp saw that later on.
Hamburg could have bought Bale for £5million because, of course, he was not playing at that moment. He couldn’t get into the side, so Spurs offered him to other clubs.
"I saw his potential straight away, but other people didn’t see that in the early stages of his career and that led to Spurs offering Bale to me when I went to Hamburg.
"We had to pay a lot of money to get him though, about five or six million, which we couldn’t afford at the time.
"I then asked Daniel Levy if we could take him on loan instead, but at that time it was not possible.
"So, yes, Hamburg could have bought Bale for £5million because, of course, he was not playing at that moment.
"He couldn't get into the side, so Spurs offered him to other clubs."