Former Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale come close to joining Napoli when he was at the north London club.

This is according to Lecce manager Luca Gotti, and has now revealed that he advised the Naples club to sign the Welshman, when Walter Mazzarri was in charge at the club. His comments are relayed by Corriere dello Sport.

Bale, who announced his retirement last year, started his career as a left-back before moving into an attacking position at Tottenham.

The former Wales international had impressed for Spurs, which helped him get a big move to Real Madrid in 2013. Prior to that, the Italian club tried signing him and Gotti claims Tottenham had opened the door for the transfer, only to change their stance in the end.

“A few years ago, Mazzarri was coaching Napoli and for the January window, Napoli were looking for a left wing-back for the 3-5-2. I had seen him in the youth national teams and I had seen a perfect fifth [wing-back],” he said.

“I spoke with Napoli’s transfer man and I recommended Bale to him. He starts seeing him and he likes him, he goes to talk to Tottenham who were planning to sell him. A few days later and he scores a hat-trick against Inter, he becomes a striker and can’t be sold, but he had the goals behind him.”

Despite the former forward’s injury woes at Real Madrid, he had a successful spell with Los Blancos, winning 15 trophies, including Champions League on five occasions.

Bale returned to Tottenham on a loan deal during the 2020/21 season, but wasn’t able to shine like he did during his first spell.