Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has revealed he was ‘very, very close’ to joining Wigan Athletic.
Championship side Wigan, who won the FA Cup in 2013, tried to sign De Gea in 2009 when they were still in the Premier League.
Wigan were managed by Belgium’s Roberto Martinez at the time, who like De Gea is a Spaniard, and he almost moved there just 18 months before joining United.
Martinez led Wigan to a 16th place finish that season, avoiding relegation, and De Gea would have been competing with the likes of Chris Kirkland and Mike Pollitt for a starting spot at the DW Stadium had he decided to join the Latics.
But De Gea, who was 18-years-old at the time, decided to stay at Atletico Madrid despite struggling for game time after making his debut.
It proved to be the right move, with the goalkeeper establishing himself at Atletico’s No.1 before he joined Sir Alex Ferguson’s United in 2011.
‘I was in Atletico and it was the same season I made my debut,’ De Gea, who now has 45 caps for Spain, told BT Sport’s What I Wore.
‘I was like the third keeper and not even count for the team much, just training. Nothing else.
‘So Wigan got in contact with me just to sign for them and I was very, very close to signing for Wigan.’
De Gea has gone on to make 494 appearances for United, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League in his 11 years at the club.
The 31-year-old has faced some criticism this season, and took personal responsibility for United’s historic 4-0 defeat to Brentford last month.
Erik ten Hag has since brought in experienced goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to challenge De Gea for the No.1 spot.
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