Peter Crouch has claimed in the Daily Mail that Liverpool and Nottingham Forest were both frontrunners to sign Gareth Bale.
It seems remarkable that Bale once struggled for confidence following his move to London from Southampton and very nearly dropped into the Championship with Forest.
Under Harry Redknapp’s management, he was often deployed as a left-back and after getting over his crisis of confidence he became one of the best left-wingers in world football.
Bale signed for Real Madrid in 2013 for £85 million, according to BBC Sport. Crouch, however, concedes that he feared he wouldn’t even make the grade at Tottenham.
He told the Daily Mail: “When I was at Southampton there was a buzz about two kids at the academy – Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale. We heard all sorts of positive reports and I knew there was interest from Liverpool about signing Gareth in the summer of 2007.
“Our paths did not cross for another couple of years until we were together at Tottenham. The young lad I saw initially had some confidence issues and had not enjoyed playing at left-back. The talk was that he was going to go to Nottingham Forest for £2 million.
“Then though he started to find his feet. He got faster, stronger. His confidence began to grow and gradually all those special things we had been told about when he was a kid started to come true.”
Liverpool might rue not picking up Bale as a youngster, whilst Nottingham Forest will be modified that they couldn’t sign him.
It’s probably the ultimate one that got away story in the eyes of Forest with Bale since going onto become one of the world’s best footballers.
Now 30, the winger has netted 105 goals and registered 67 assists in 249 games for Real Madrid.
The Wales winger has endured a constant battle to defy his critics but when called upon he has largely delivered at the Bernabeu.