Real Madrid turned down a €100 million (A$163 million) bid from a Premier League club for Gareth Bale last year, according to the Spanish side's former president Ramon Calderon.
Bale hit out at Madrid in an explosive interview on Thursday (AEST), accusing the La Liga giants of "making things very difficult" for him to move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Wales international was on the brink of joining Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning in July 2019, only for Madrid to pull the plug on a deal at the 11th hour.
And Calderon - Madrid president between 2006 and 2009 - has claimed an unnamed English club also stepped forward with a big offer for Bale 12 months ago.
"I know in the last day of the transfer window last year there was an offer from the Premier League," he told talkSPORT.
"They offered €100m and Real Madrid turned down that offer because they thought Bale would be a player in their side."
Asked to reveal the identity of the Premier League team in question, with Manchester United among those linked, Calderon said: "I'm not allowed to say the name, though I do know the name of the club.
"I think at the end there was a disagreement as Madrid decided not to sell the player, because they thought he was a player who could be used and be in the starting line-up.
"But I think the player neither wants to leave nor to reduce his salary. It is true his salary is very high, but in 2016 the club decided to increase his salary.
"It is difficult for any club to pay that salary, especially knowing the situation of football nowadays."
Bale made just 20 appearances in all competitions in 2019-20 and asked to be left out of the squad to face Manchester City in last month's Champions League last-16 second leg.
The former Tottenham player has two years to run on the contract he signed in 2016 and Calderon suggested it may well be a case of Madrid terminating that deal if his situation does not improve.
"I think his agent was here yesterday trying to get a deal," he said. "But I don't see any club paying that salary.
"And, on top of that, if Real Madrid want to get a transfer fee, that's impossible.
"I think Real Madrid would now be willing to let him go without any transfer fee - that would be the solution.
"But in that case, I don't see any club paying €40m a year for a player who is 31 and who hasn't been playing regularly in the last two years."