United ace David de Gea nearly joined Wigan Athletic on loan 13 years ago

Manchester United’s number one goalkeeper David de Gea will return to his former club Atletico Madrid for the first time since leaving the Spanish side 11 years ago tonight.

The Spanish stopper was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011 but has never faced the reigning La Liga champions.

That’s largely due to the Reds’ poor performances in the Champions League as Diego Simeone’s side have reached the final twice since de Gea made the switch to Manchester.

But the 31-year-old’s career could have taken a completely different trajectory if Belgium manager Roberto Martinez had got his way.

Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

At the age of 18, and despite being part of the Spanish youth team that won the Under-17 European Championship in 2007, de Gea’s route to the number one spot at Atletico was far from clear-cut.

According to the Athletic, Joel Robles — later of Wigan and Everton — was often ahead of De Gea in the pecking order.

De Gea’s route to the first team and a senior debut were hampered further when the Los Rojiblancos signed two goalkeepers, in the summer of 2009, Sergio Asenjo and Roberto Jimenez.

De Gea found himself down as fourth choice and this resulted in some Spanish second tier sides looking to sign the youngster on loan.

Photo by Philippe Crochet / Photo News via Getty Images

However, the Athletic state that de Gea “nearly joined” Wigan under Martinez, but a move didn’t materialise.

Instead, fate intervened and the stars aligned for de Gea as injuries and international call-ups provided an opportunity for de Gea to make his senior debut aged 18 against Porto in the Champions League.

Four days later he played his fist game at the Calderon, against Real Zaragoza in La Liga. De Gea gave away a penalty which he saved in that game.

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

David de Gea hasn’t looked back since that moment and has gone on to make 473 appearances for Manchester United.

But things could have been very different if Martinez and Wigan managed to get a deal over the line for the Spaniard.

Thoughts? Comment Below
LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment
Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.