Gareth Bale was reportedly keen to join Manchester United before sealing a return to Tottenham this summer.
The Welshman rejoined Spurs on a season-long loan from Real Madrid last month, heading back to north London seven years after his then-world-record £80million switch to the Bernabeu.
Before doing so, however, he was heavily linked with a move to Premier League rivals United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co were said to have identified him as a cheaper alternative to Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, whose £108million asking price is proving too steep for them in the summer transfer window.
They failed with a £90million bid for the 20-year-old earlier this week, with Dortmund insistent on receiving their valuation in full.
It is believed the Red Devils will now turn their attention to a loan deal for Barcelona outcast Ousmane Dembele, who has fallen out of favour at the Nou Camp.
But according to ESPN, they could have beaten Spurs to the signing of Bale this summer had they shifted their focus away from Sancho sooner.
The 31-year-old is understood to have been keen on joining United, yet grew tired of waiting for them to make a decision on Sancho.
United chiefs told Bale he would be high on their list of back-up options should a move for the Dortmund youngster fail to materialise.
While he was prepared to sign for them, though, Bale could not wait for the Red Devils any longer when Spurs presented him with an offer of their own.
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Jose Mourinho therefore beat his former club to the signing, which the Red Devils hierarchy may very well regret now that their pursuit of Sancho has hit a major stumbling block.
The only addition to Solskjaer’s squad this summer so far is Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek, who joined in a £35million move from Ajax.
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