Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that he had to be talked out of buying Manuel Neuer instead of David de Gea.
De Gea joined United from Ateltico Madrid as a gangly 20-year-old back in 2011 as a long-term replacement for Edwin van der Sar and got off to a sticky start during life at Old Trafford.
Physical Premier League teams would target de Gea at set-pieces and corner-kicks, and repeatedly tried to intimidate the young Spaniard during his early days at the club.
He eventually came through those tough early moments and is now regarded as one of the best goalkeepers on the planet and a firm fans’ favourite, winning United’s Player of the Year award last season.
But former Red Devils manager Ferguson has revealed that he initially wanted to bring Germany keeper Manuel Neuer to Manchester instead of de Gea, and had to be talked round by his former goalkeeping coach Eric Steele.
United played Schalke on route to the 2011 Champions League final, when Neuer was between the sticks for the Bundesliga side, and during an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Ferguson said: “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. 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’.
“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.”
What do you think of Ferguson’s comments? Did he make the right choice?