Alex Ferguson reveals why he signed David de Gea instead of Manuel Neuer 3 years ago

Alex Ferguson reveals why he signed David de Gea instead of Manuel Neuer

A tough choice to make, but Alex Ferguson was getting a world class goalkeeper either way.

Manchester United had a difficult choice to make back in 2011.

The ultra-reliable Edwin van der Sar was retiring, and the club didn't want to botch the process to find an able successor, as they did when Peter Schmeichel left the club in 1999.

They settled on David de Gea, and despite a rocky start, the Spaniard has developed into arguably the only truly world class player currently in United's squad.

However, Ferguson has revealed that he had to be talked out of making a move for Manuel Neuer.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 08: David De Gea of Manchester United makes a save from Enner Valencia of West Ham during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester United at Boleyn Ground on February 8, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The Bayern Munich and Germany 'keeper was playing for Schalke at the time, and put in a highly impressive performance against United in the Champions League.

Ferguson claims he wanted to sign Neuer, but was convinced by his goalkeeper coach Eric Steele to make a move for De Gea instead.

"Eric Steele had been scouting David de Gea for quite a while," the former United manager told Sky Sports.

"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.'"FC Barcelona v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Semi Final"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."

Whether Neuer would have joined United is a separate matter, but either way Ferguson couldn't lose.

Click snap