Bale has sensationally made a season-long loan return to his former club.
The winger is contracted to Real Madrid until 2022, and he could extend his stay back at Spurs beyond this season.
But ESPN says Bale's priority had been a move to United and he was hopeful of a transfer to Old Trafford. But United had other plans, with their focus on trying to prise Jadon Sancho away from Borussia Dortmund.
With silence coming from United, Bale was happy to accept a return to Tottenham last week.