This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. That has been the approach, it seems, that Manchester United have taken in their as-yet failed pursuit of Gareth Bale.
With whispers of a potential switch to Old Trafford for the Welshman still filling tabloid columns, it looks like one of those rumours that never seem to go away.
But how has it come to this? With efforts to bring Bale to Manchester even predating his move to Real Madrid, the fact that the 30-year-old is reportedly unsettled in the Spanish capital must be a kick in the teeth for those who have sought his signature.
Though whether for the respective regimes of David Moyes, Jose Mourinho or even Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Bale continues to be an area where United still have shortcomings in the transfer market.
And for all the financial might that the club have exercised over the last few years, perhaps that is a surprise.
Further still, the lack of silverware that has come United’s way must only increase the feeling of dread as the former Spurs man has enjoyed domestic and European success aplenty since his world-record switch to the Santiago Bernabeu.
According to The Telegraph, Bale was subject of an unsuccessful bid of over £86m – which was the price that eventually took him to La Liga six years ago.
With Spurs chairman Daniel Levy reluctant to sell to a Premier League rival, even the reigning Premier League champions were priced out of a move as Moyes failed to see out the season at seventh-placed United.
Spanish publication AS (via the Daily Express) also linked Bale with a £120m Old Trafford switch to United, then under the control of Louis van Gaal.
That also failed to materialise, while Van Gaal’s successor Mourinho had reportedly been prepared to part with £222.5m to lure the Southampton academy product back to these shores.
All three men have since paid an arguably higher price in being dismissed as United boss, having been unable to obtain Bale’s services nor turn United’s fortunes around.
It looks like current incumbent Solskjaer is facing the same challenge as his predecessors, and it seems more than ever that United could do with further attacking impetus having dropped plenty of points already this season.
So with the possibility of a loan move in January being talked up, Solskjaer may have the opportunity to finally make Bale a Red Devil.
Can you see United finally bringing Bale to Old Trafford? Where will the Welshman end up? Join the discussion by commenting below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!