Bale, who was later sold to Real Madrid for a world-record £86m, struggled to make an impact upon arriving at White Hart Lane from Southampton, but Jol claims that he saw his potential straight away.
"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 £5m because, of course, he was not playing at that moment. He couldn't get into the side, so Spurs offered him to other clubs."
Bale was later deployed in the left-wing position, leading to his famous hat-trick against Inter Milan in the Champions League.