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Alex Ferguson regrets failed attempt to sign Bale

May 4, 2013, 7:15 PM EDT

Manchester United's manager Alex Ferguson reacts during the English Premier League soccer match against Arsenal in London Reuters

As Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale collected his trio of top awards this season in the Premier League, Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson reflected on his unfruitful try to sign Bale from Southampton just before he was sold to Spurs.

Ferguson says it was the club, not the player, who turned United down and ultimately decided the Welshman’s fate.

“We were disappointed in Southampton at the time because we were first there, but they never came back to us.  It was not the boy who turned us down, it was Southampton, then a few weeks later he signed for Tottenham Hotspur.”

He also gave credit to former Spurs manager and current boss at QPR Harry Redknapp for Bale’s position conversion to his more successful winger spot where he plays now.  “He was a left-back when we tried to sign him. It wasn’t until Harry [Redknapp] went to Tottenham that he converted him into a wide left player.”

Finally, the legendary manager spoke on Bale’s physical maturation and said the 23-year old reminds him of a former United star winger/defender.

“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.”

Bale’s scored 20 league goals for Spurs this season, bursting onto the scene and earning both the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player awards, as well as the FWA Player of the Year trophy.  He netted the winner in Spurs’ 1-0 victory over Southampton today, allowing Bale to collect the winner and his 200th appearance for Spurs both against his former club.

Rumors surround Bale’s future in the Premier League, as he’s been linked with a plethora of top clubs in recent weeks, including most notably Real Madrid.

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