OPINION: Bale was the one that got away for United

Every time I watch Gareth Bale turn out for Real Madrid, my heart is filled with regret. Regret, imagining what could and probably should have been.

When him and Cristiano Ronaldo are deployed on the flanks, Los Blancos remind me of great squads from United’s past. The athleticism, physicality and cold-blooded nature of their football are what I have grown up to believe a Manchester United team plays like.

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Contrary to the opinions of many fans this season, United have never been a team that is hailed for attractive, possession, ‘tika-taka’ football. We leave that to teams like Arsenal. The criticisms of Moyes’ tactics, served by this excuse that we once played this style, were explicitly unjust. Cut-throat, clinical, pace and width are the words that come to mind when thinking about our most successful squads and it is this thesis that we need to follow if we are to regain our unrivalled domestic and European success.

Players like Bale are undoubtedly, in my mind, Manchester United players. If I am correct in assuming Van Gaal will be taking the devil by its horns next season, it is these players that he must look to acquire. I fear Bale and Ronaldo are both lost opportunities and that notion will haunt me, but there are other alternatives out there. Recent reports suggest Van Gaal is interested in Dutch compatriot Arjen Robben to give the team some added pace and width and if we can get this deal through I believe he could be the closest available player to suit our requirements.

The summer market will be intriguing as spectators, but for me, I cannot help but feel that last summer Bale was the one that got away, and we may never find another quite like him.

By Jonathan Evans

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