Former Republic of Ireland international Stephen Hunt has made a surprising admission that he came close to joining Tottenham back in 2008, in a move that would have seen Gareth Bale head in the opposite direction to Reading.
Hunt, a former fan favourite at the Madejski, made an impressive start to life in the Premier League when he helped the Royals retain their top-flight status back in the 2007/2008 season.
Whilst the winger was at the time winning plenty of plaudits, the opposite could be said of Bale, who was enduring a wretched start to life in the Premier League with Tottenham.
The Welshman failed to win any of his first 24 games in a Spurs shirt since he joined the north Londoners from Southampton back in 2007 and showed few signs of the player he would soon become.
With Hunt's form making him a target for a number of Premier League clubs back in 2008, the 35-year-old has now claimed that could have formed part of a swap deal with Bale, as Tottenham were one of the teams that considered signing him.
Writing in his column in the Independent, he said: "When I was in my second Premier League season with Reading, playing well and in the Ireland squad, Tottenham were one of the teams sniffing around.
"Nothing came of it, but there was definite interest and a couple of ideas were put to my agent. There was even talk of Spurs allowing Gareth Bale to leave in the opposite direction.
"Well, what a lucky escape for Tottenham and Real Madrid when that deal fell through!"
Bale would of course go on to become Tottenham's most important player and eventually sealed an estimated £85m move to Real Madrid in 2013, where has gone on to win countless honours, including two Champions League winners medals.
Hunt meanwhile, would eventually leave Reading in 2009 to join Hull City. A disappointingspell on Humberside lasted only a season, as he went on to play for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Ipswich Town and Coventry City before announcing his retirement in the summer of 2016.
How different things could have been then, had that deal involving Bale come to fruition.
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