If Manchester United do manage to bring Gareth Bale to Old Trafford this transfer window, then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have succeeded where predecessors Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and Jose Mourinho all failed. The Wales international is back on the club’s radar at a time where their deal for Jadon Sancho hangs in the balance. And, after many years, a move to Old Trafford could be on the cards.
Manchester United have spent most of the transfer window chasing Sancho, with Solskjaer convinced the Borussia Dortmund star can be an Old Trafford hit.
However, despite having Champions League football to offer, the Red Devils have been unable to snap him up.
United have made a breakthrough when it comes to agent fees but won’t pay the £108million Dortmund current want for their prized asset. As a result, alternatives are being eyed.
Ivan Perisic’s name has been floated in discussions, though there remains an expectancy the Croatia international will join Bayern Munich on a permanent basis.
Douglas Costa is available with Juventus putting him up for sale but, with just three goals to his name last season, would represent a gamble.
So too would Ousmane Dembele, who has toiled at Barcelona ever since his move from 2017.
But, in Bale, United believe they could be onto a winner.
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Solskjaer feels the Wales international, when fully fit and firing, has the ability to propel his side to Premier League title glory. He believes the 31-year-old can be the answer to his side’s issues on the right wing, if only for the short term.
And, should United sign the forward on Solskjaer’s watch, he’d have succeeded where three of his predecessors have failed.
In 2011, Ferguson admitted he had hoped to recruit Bale when he was at Southampton – at a time where the Welshman was flourishing at Tottenham.
“We tried to sign him from [Southampton] as a 17-year-old,” Ferguson said,
“But it never got to the stage of talking to the player. They didn’t accept our offer and I think they must have alerted Tottenham.
“I don’t know the full circumstances but, listen, you try to get the best deal you can. We made a good offer but they turned it down.”
Patrice Evra then revealed earlier this year that Ferguson was confident he’d sign Bale in 2013, shortly before his sudden retirement.
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“You know, you talk about the hardest moments [in my United career], I would say maybe this is the one,” he told the club’s official website.
“Two weeks before that, I remember there was a lot of media saying Ferguson will maybe retire next year, and he said, ‘Patrice, I will never retire. I will be here another 10 years’.
“He then said: ‘My target is I’m 99 per cent sure we will have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. I just need these two players to win the Champions League again. Ninety-nine per cent’.
“And to be fair, when I speak with Cristiano, I ask him and he said ‘yes’ to the boss, and was coming to join United. He told me this.”
Moyes replaced Ferguson in 2013 and he, too, thought he stood a chance of landing Bale.
“By the time we got to the end of the transfer window, we always thought we had a chance of getting Gareth Bale,” said Moyes.
“We hoped we could talk him out of going to Real Madrid because it was already half done.
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“We had offered more money, we tried to entice him. We did [have a helicopter ready] and we tried.”
And, throughout Mourinho’s time at the club, he also tried to land Bale.
He came closest in the summer of 2017, shortly after the Real Madrid star had been benched for the Champions League final victory over Juventus in Cardiff.
But, again, Bale slipped through his fingers.
Now, Solskjaer could be about to succeed where past United managers have failed.
But, with so many supporters clamouring for the arrival of Sancho, it remains to be seen how a potential deal would go down.
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