West Ham boss David Moyes says Gareth Bale was the first player he tried to sign after taking the Manchester United job, but admits the Welshman made a “brilliant decision” in joining Real Madrid instead.
Bale could make his second Tottenham debut against the Hammers on Saturday and on the eve of the game Moyes revealed more about how he tried to take the winger to Old Trafford after arriving in the dugout in 2013.
Moyes ultimately failed in his pursuit, Bale instead heading to Madrid, where he won the Champions League four times before falling out of favour under Zinedine Zidane and finally leaving the Bernabeu this summer to return to Spurs on loan.
“Gareth Bale was probably the first name I thought of when I got the job,” he said. “I thought Gareth Bale was a Manchester United player. He was the right type. United have a great history of wide players with George Best up to Ryan Giggs and a whole of lot of other brilliant ones in between.
“I wanted Gareth Bale to be my first signing at Manchester United. But it was already down the road a bit with Real Madrid. I tried to hijack it. I tried to get him. Manchester United offered more money than Real Madrid. They offered more money to the player.
“We did everything we could to try and get the player. We even had a helicopter at the training ground to take him and bring him back. We thought we had a chance. But he chose real Madrid and he made a brilliant decision because he went on to win four Champions Leagues. He’s had a brilliant career.”
Moyes will himself be back on the touchline this weekend, having undergone a period of isolation after testing positive for coronavirus.
With the Scot watching on from home, West Ham earned two terrific Premier League wins, 4-0 against Wolves and 3-0 away at Leicester, and Moyes paid tribute to his backroom staff for their work in his absence.
“The lads were great, the staff were great,” Moyes added. “If anyone didn't think Alan Irvine was a good coach and organiser, or if they didn't think Stuart Pearce was a great motivator, Nolan learning his trade, Paul Nevin, they were all brilliant at their jobs.
“The good thing is having the cameras at the training ground so in the morning I would watch training and go in afterwards if I didn't like something. It gave me a chance to be involved as much as I can.
“But I have to say during the period I was in lockdown was right in the heat of the transfer window, it was manic, watching player after player and games, trying to get the job done. It kept me really busy and kept my mind off the Covid thankfully.”