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17 Oct 2015

Dream Transfer? Anfield Legend confirms Liverpool 'wanted to sign' world-class £300k-a-week superstar.

Last week, Anfield legend Jamie Carragher revealed that Liverpool tried to sign Gareth Bale during the 2006-7 season, and former manager Rafa Benitez - who now manages the 'incredible' Welsh attacker at Real Madrid - has weighed in on the subject.

In a recent column for the Daily Mail, Carra claimed:

"Rafa Benitez looked at signing him [Bale] for Liverpool.

"Bale was playing as a left back then and Rafa didn't think he was any better than John Arne Riise, so he never pursued it".

When asked this week about the Bale rumour, Benitez confirmed Carra's account, but contradicted the ex-Reds defender on one key point. He told reporters:

"Carragher has made the mistake of saying I preferred [John Arne] Riise when it wasn’t like that. I wanted to sign Bale who we had been following since 2006, but in the end Tottenham paid a lot of money for him.’

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To be fair to Benitez, Bale - reportedly on £300k-a-week at Madrid - was a totally different player back then, and no one could've predicted that he'd become one of the world's top attacking players.

Additionally, Riise was, for the most part, superb for Liverpool, so at the height of his powers, it would've take a top-class left-back to replace him, and at Southampton, Bale definitely didn't fit that description.

In any event, would Bale have become the player he is today if he'd signed for Liverpool back in 2006?

Doubtful. Bale started as a left-back, and at Anfield, he probably would've stayed in that position.

Glen Johnson is a good comparison here:

* For years, Liverpool fans urged various managers to play Johnson as a winger, and he had all the attacking attributes to be a success in that role (i.e. pace, strength, guile, attacking instinct etc).

* Despite the obviousness of the chance, Benitez, Dalglish, Hodgson, and Rodgers all (maddeningly) failed to try him out as a right-winger.

* Countless other players where played out of position throughout the reigns of the aforementioned managers (including Peter Crouch on the left-wing once!), yet Johnson remained as a right-back.

The same probably would've happened with Bale, and just like with Johnson, Liverpool fans would've been screaming for positional change.

Luckily, at Spurs, Harry Redknapp had the sense to be progressive and convert Bale into a fully-fledged attacking player.

Now, the Welshman is the UK's only world-class player.

Liverpool also missed out on Bale's Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, but again, would he have developed in the same way at Anfield?

Author: Jaimie K


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