Jol was in charge at Tottenham when the club acquired the teenage left-back from Southampton for a fee of £5m – with the potential to rise to £10m.
Yet Bale struggled to make any tangible mark on the starting XI during his first season at White Hart Lane, leading to frustration at the club.
And, according to Jol – who became Hamburg boss in 2008 – Spurs were close to cashing in on the Wales international, with the asking price set at just £5m.
Jol claims he saw his potential “straight away,” but could not afford to sign Bale permanently.
“Spurs saw Bale as a left-back, but he probably wasn’t the best left-back in the world,” Jol told TalkSport. “He was more creative, he had electric pace, so everybody saw that he was more suited as a forward player, and Harry Redknapp saw that later on.
"I saw his potential straight away, but other people didn’t see that in the early stages of his career and that led to Spurs offering Bale to me when I went to Hamburg.
“We had to pay a lot of money to get him though, about five or six million, which we couldn’t afford at the time. I then asked Daniel Levy if we could take him on loan instead, but at that time it was not possible.
“So yes, Hamburg could have bought Bale for £5million because, of course, he was not playing at that moment.
“He couldn’t get into the side, so Spurs offered him to other clubs.”
Redknapp later moved Bale into the left wing position, leading to the star scoring a hat-trick against Inter Milan in the Champions League.
And, having made the position his own, Bale was eventually sold to Real Madrid for a world-record £86m in 2013.