Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed the club tried to sell Gareth Bale long before his move to Real Madrid.
The Welsh forward 29, joined Spurs from Southampton as a left back in 2007 for £7m, going on to score 42 goals in 146 Premier League appearances, providing 20 assists as he transitioned to a marauding forward.
However, he didn’t get off to the greatest of starts during his career at White Hart Lane. Bale didn’t win any games from his first 24 appearances following his move from the south coast.
Quoted by Football.London, Pochettino admitted that Tottenham were ready to offload the Welshman long before he became an elite player.
Bale eventually left north London for Spain when he joined La Liga giants Real Madrid for a then world record £85m in 2013. When asked about Spurs' lack of young Football League signings since Dele Alli's arrival, Pochettino hinted that the club had been internally reluctant to trust such players in the past, citing Bale's early life at White Hart Lane.
He explained: "Yeah but remember with Bale, after three years he started to be a success. But they believed they signed a left-back and today he's the opposite! That was a bit lucky, to be honest. Because after three years, when they told me all that happened, they wanted to get rid of the player.
"You know better than me the history! In football, sometimes someone is up here but it's so lucky! Yes, or no? That's the truth! Come on after four years, we know each other and we need to be honest."
The Spurs boss did admit that there are talented players in the lower divisions, but added: "It's difficult but sure there are talents in the Championship, League One and below. There's always talented players but then it's to get lucky with this type of player.
"You need some people like us, when Dele came, to provide a platform. Dele is Dele because of Dele but in the end the platform the club offered the player to develop their talent needs to be the right – the right platform, the right club, the right person.
"Of course, all the credit is for the player but it's not the same if Dele Alli arrived from Milton Keynes to another club. Today, it would be different. Maybe better, maybe not – but different. That's why it's so important the players have luck with interest from some clubs. Interest from Tottenham is a massive thing because Tottenham have a very good platform to help the younger players improve."
"It's not because the players are good or no good, it's about how they adapt at Tottenham. Not all good players can play here and maybe players that are not so good come here and then are so good. Everyone is different. Not because the players are good or bad."