Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that former Manchester United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele convinced him to sign David de Gea in 2011.
Man United were heavily linked with Manuel Neuer, who played for Schalke at the time, but they opted to sign De Gea from Atletico Madrid instead.
Neuer went to Bayern Munich and both keepers have established themselves as the best in the world, although many believe De Gea to be the better of the two. Ferguson admitted that Steele was pivotal in his decision to choose De Gea.
“So my problem was Eric, because he was adamant that we must take De Gea,” Ferguson said.
“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.”
Ferguson made some inspired signings in his time – Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeichel and Cristiano Ronaldo to name a few – but De Gea certainly ranks among his best.