Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez has claimed Manchester United made a bid for Gareth Bale before he moved to Madrid for a world-record fee.
The 24-year-old left Tottenham earlier this month for £86million and scored on his Real debut against Villarreal 10 days ago.
Perez told SER radio that he believed he had secured a bargain on the conclusion of the record-breaking deal.
He said: “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.”
Mesut Ozil left Madrid at the end of the transfer window – joining Arsenal for £42million – in a move that caused some raised eyebrows across Europe.
However, Perez refuted suggestions that the player had been forced out, adding: “It was the father of the player who made contact with Arsenal. No-one leaves Real Madrid if they don’t want to go.”