Per the Daily Mail's Pete Jenson, after Neymar struck out on his own by moving to Paris Saint-Germain—extricating himself from under Lionel Messi in the process—it was thought Bale could do the same with Cristiano Ronaldo by moving to United.
The Welshman said: "Well there's an argument for that, but I think the main thing, when you look back on your career, is that you look at your trophies. In the end that's probably the most important thing."
Bale has added plenty of silverware to his trophy cabinet since moving to the Spanish capital, per Squawka Football:
The Red Devils won the UEFA Europa League and the EFL Cup last season and also won the FA Cup the year before, but at this stage they can't compete with Real's return of three UEFA Champions League titles in four years.
Despite missing out on Bale it was a positive transfer window for the club, and the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic should bring them closer to where they want to be, though it's too early to tell how much.
The addition of a player like Bale would go a long way both domestically and on the European stage.
The winger has boasted an excellent record in front of goal in La Liga, per Squawka:
Bale will be 29 next summer. Should United have another successful season, it could entice him to make a return to the Premier League.
Meanwhile, according to Belgian outlet Het Belang Van Limburg (h/t the Mirror) the Red Devils remain interested in Anderlecht star Leander Dendoncker, despite failing to secure his signature during talks in the summer.
The 22-year-old enjoyed an outstanding campaign last year but went under the radar compared to team-mate Youri Tielemans, per Belgian football writer Bjorn De Cock:
Dendoncker made 57 appearances in all competitions last season and, remarkably, completed 90 minutes in every single match bar one, a Belgian Cup match in which he was sent off for two yellow cards.
Unsurprisingly, the holding midfielder's endurance and tireless work ethic are two of his most defining attributes, but he's also an intelligent operator whose distribution—particularly his ability to spray accurate long passes across the pitch—is excellent.
The Belgian may not be an exact like-for-like replacement, but he could make a strong choice to serve as Michael Carrick's long-term successor at Old Trafford.
Dendoncker is reportedly valued around £30 million, which could make him a shrewd buy in today's market.