During the summer transfer window of 2013 there was a time when Ed Woodward was walking around like the cat who had got the cream. After bumbling his way through the summer, jetting home from the pre-season tour to take care of pressing transfer negotiations, only for nothing to happen, he believed he was about to redeem himself.

A deal had been agreed between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur for Gareth Bale. The London club wanted to sell him abroad and Bale wanted to join Real Madrid, so all United’s accepted bid meant was that the Spaniards had to get their arse in to gear. They did, a world record transfer fee was set, and Woodward was left scrambling to get Marouane Fellaini’s signature before the window shut.

Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, has reflected on that transfer window.

“It was one of the biggest [transfers],” he said. “And that one is an honour for me, because I knew Gareth when he was so young and I could make his dream real… he always wanted to play for Real Madrid. He could have signed with United or other teams, but he wanted Madrid. [The offer from United was] not much more… but more.”




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