Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that he wanted to sign current Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer before they chose David de Gea instead, according to reports from Goal.
United signed De Gea from Atletico Madrid back in the summer of 2011, but his career at Old Trafford started poorly with the Spaniard making some significant mistakes during his first season.
However, after being in rotation with Anders Lindegaard in goal, De Gea developed into the undisputed number one for the Red Devils and is now considered one of the best shot-stoppers in the world today.
But Ferguson has admitted that he almost snubbed De Gea for Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer instead, who was then peaking with FC Schalke in the Bundesliga.
“Eric Steele had been scouting David de Gea for quite a while, but then Neuer came on the scene at Schalke. And I think Schalke would’ve been happy if we’d have gone and taken him,” Sir Alex said on Sky Sports.
“So my problem was Eric, because he was adamant that we must take De Gea. I said ‘but Eric, the boy Neuer is the complete unit; he’s mature, his physique is unbelievable’, and he says ‘yeah, but in three years’ time, De Gea will be better’.
“I said ‘that’s a statement’.
“Eric and I went out to watch him (De Gea) against Valencia away, and the things he’d been speaking about – his agility, his confidence, his speed – were evident.
“And Eric had been building a relationship with his parents, and was so adamant, that I had to trust him – and I’m glad I did, because he was right.”
Neuer went on to join Bayern, winning the Champions League in 2013 before lifting the World Cup with his country a year later.
De Gea has made 39 appearances in all competitions this term, keeping 16 clean sheets.