Former Tottenham director Damien Comolli has revealed how man of the moment Gareth Bale could well have been a Manchester United player had Sir Alex Ferguson taken the advice of Ryan Giggs.
Comolli was the man that identified Bale as a supreme talent and eventually managed to secure his services from Southampton. However, he admits that the club were worried that Manchester United would come up with a late bid on the recommendation of Giggs.
"Our biggest concern was Manchester United," Comolli told the Express. "Ryan Giggs used to call Gareth all the time because of the Welsh connection, telling him to come to United.
"All the clubs were on to Gareth and would go and see him. He was not a secret. We thought United would come in and we would have a battle on our hands.
"But they never moved. They didn't come in - which was good news for us."
It is rare that Ferguson makes a mistake in the transfer market but he will certainly be kicking himself over missing out on Bale considering the recent form of the Welsh winger.
Bale may well have been a readymade replacement for his international colleague Giggs; instead he has excelled in north London and it seems it is all thanks to Spurs scout Mel Johnson.
"It was Mel Johnson, who was a scout at Tottenham, who first raised Gareth's name," said Comolli. "He was in charge of scouting players aged between 17 and 21 and had a very good knowledge of the lower leagues.
"I made my mind up after watching him in a game against QPR when he showed outstanding offensive qualities. He was used to playing at Southampton and wanted to play at Tottenham and we said that we thought he could play left-midfield as well as at left-back.
"He wasn't so sure at first, but I remember the United game at the start of the season and a lot of credit must go to Martin Jol, who was prepared to play him."
Bale has gradually improved season-upon-season and is currently enjoying his most prolific period in front of goal. He has scored 22 goals for club and country this season and is in the middle of a purple patch that has seen him fire eight in just six games.
But what is the reason for this sudden upturn in form? Comilli puts it solely down to hard work on the training ground.
"The quality of his finishing and the free-kicks he is now attempting are down to hard work and the hours he puts in when other players will go home. He is dedicated to his profession. He wants to improve," added Comolli.
"When he came to Tottenham, money was never mentioned. The only question was, 'Will I play? I want to play first-team football'.
"He had a tough spell with injury and that affected his confidence afterwards. There was a time when Tottenham tried to sell him by putting him into deals they were trying to do, but thankfully for them that didn't happen. Gareth has a strong mentality and his parents have ensured he has had a very good upbringing."
Bale's form has led to suggestions that he is now being targeted by some of Europe's biggest club's but Comolli is confident that he will remain at White Hart Lane.
"You can tell he is enjoying his football so much. I know clubs will be looking at him, but I don't think he will leave."