Real Madrid’s catalyst for the summer signing of Gareth Bale was the interest of Manchester United, according to president Florentino Perez.
Madrid completed the world-record transfer of Bale from Tottenham days before the end of the window, but Perez told Cadena SER radio they had to fend off United’s approach before sealing the deal.
David Kent of the Daily Mail provides Perez's quotes:
Bale has come cheaply. Signing the best players out there is Madrid's philosophy and Bale was the best available player on the market this summer. We had been following him for two years.
Tottenham did not want to sell. We learned that Manchester United had made an offer and we made one ourselves.
Since childhood he had had the dream of playing for Real Madrid and he asked us to make it possible for him to come.
David Moyes later rejected the chance to respond to Perez's claim at a Tuesday press conference, per the Daily Express:
If I was (in for Bale) I wouldn't tell you. We don't talk about it.
We only talk about the players we think there is a reason to talk about and I wouldn't comment on that.
United were extremely active during the summer window, yet they failed to land a host of top transfer targets, including Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas and Ander Herrera.
That trio of Spaniards were confirmed pursuits on behalf of David Moyes, but the United manager never categorically revealed an attempt to snatch Bale from Tottenham.
The Premier League champions were sporadically credited with an interest throughout the window, but Perez’s words provide the most substantial indication that United wanted Bale at Old Trafford.
In truth, it was never expected that the Wales international would head anywhere other than Madrid—his “dream club” as Perez states.
However, confirmation of United’s interest reveals Moyes' plan to improve his squad’s wide options, having previously only shown heavy interest in central midfielders. Having failed in his pursuits for the aforementioned trio, Moyes eventually added Marouane Fellaini to bolster his engine room.
Never was a wide attacker like Bale linked to the club, who invested heavily in the raw talent of Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace earlier in the year.
Perez also explained how Madrid are able to afford such a staggering transfer fee, reported to be in the region of £86 million. Bale’s arrival comes not long after Cristiano Ronaldo’s £80 million switch from Old Trafford, but the president claims such captures bring huge sponsorship deals.
Dermot Corrigan of ESPNFC provides the quotes:
That produces an important effect, both sporting and economic. I have already showed this, as in the year 2000 Madrid was in a bad situation losing money.
And signing [Luis] Figo, [Zinedine] Zidane and [David] Beckham, even though they were very expensive, we started making money. That is a model which works in business, and in football, which is also a business.
Bale is expected to be fit for the weekend’s Madrid derby, having missed Sunday’s home encounter with Getafe.