Ferguson eyes Spanish wonderkid keeper
Published 20:57 22/09/10 By Alan Nixon
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to raid Spain with a bid for Atletico Madrid's wonder keeper David De Gea.
Fergie missed his team's Carling Cup tie at Scunthorpe and flew to Valencia to watch United's next Champions League opponents but it was a cover for a personal check on the brilliant youngster.
De Gea, just 19, is rated the best young keeper in Europe - with a wonder show against Barcelona last weekend also watched by United's spies as they look for Edwin van der Sar's long-term successor.
United have been tracking De Gea for some time, even looking at him in Atletico's reserves last season before he stepped into the first team and took a firm grip on the jersey.
Ferguson knows that Atletico are looking to sell players after missing out on deals to move out Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan in the last window.
The shrewd Red chief could step in shortly.
United's American owners would sanction a bid for a player of De Gea's potential as his value would not drop at any stage. He could probably be bought now for around £12 million.
De Gea just failed to make the Spanish World Cup squad after impressing at under-21 level. However most experts think he is the best emerging keeper in the business.
The modest youngster is still driven to training by his dad and is far from start-struck despite his meteoric rise in La Liga. He could be persuaded to come to United and understudy van der Sar in the short term before stepping in.
Ferguson's spies have been looking around for a potential replacement for van der Sar, who is on a one-year deal that includes a guaranteed extension if he plays 30 senior games.
United looked at Frenchman Hugo Lloris but he is far too expensive and did not shine at the World Cup. There was even interest in Joe Hart until he made Manchester City's first-team place his own.
Talent-spotting United want to move fast for De Gea before rivals move in. Ferguson also knows that De Gea could be eligible for Europe this season if he signed in January.
De Gea has played for Atletico in the Europa League this season - after helping them to win the trophy - but he can 'swap' competitions and be registered if needed.