Man Utd icon Sir Alex Ferguson plotted to sign Guillermo Ochoa and World Cup hero was keen | Football | Sport
Guillermo Ochoa is the talk of the World Cup once again after his heroics for Mexico against Poland on Tuesday. The goalkeeper, appearing in his fifth World Cup, denied Robert Lewandowski from the penalty spot with an impressive save. So, with the 37-year-old in the spotlight, it’s time to look back at Manchester United’s failed pursuit of the shot-stopper.
Back in 2007, Manchester United had Edwin van der Sar as their No 1.
The Netherlands international had joined from Fulham two years previously, impressing at Old Trafford and finally filling the gloves left behind by Peter Schmeichel’s departure in 1999.
But with Van der Sar approaching the twilight years of his career, Sir Alex Ferguson was on the lookout for a successor.
Despite having a young Ben Foster on their books at the time, the Scot knew he needed another goalkeeper to ensure they challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title.
And The Telegraph said back in 2007 that Ochoa was in United’s sights.
What’s more, the Mexico international was keen to join – having impressed playing for Club America in his homeland.
It was claimed Ferguson saw Ochoa as ‘an able replacement’ for Van der Sar, with the goalkeeper also being linked with Arsenal at the time.
The shot-stopper himself was keen to join, too, and it was stated a fee of £7.5million would be required to secure his signature.
Ochoa even addressed interest from United, saying: “There have been people scouting me and I have been approached and have had talks.
“They (Man Utd) are a great team and it is possible something will be done.”
However, in the end, a move failed to materialise.
Van der Sar would stay at Old Trafford until the summer of 2011, helping the club win four Premier League titles prior to departing.
His final game would come in the Champions League final, with the Red Devils losing 3-1 to Barcelona at Wembley with Lionel Messi producing a masterclass.
And instead of revisiting interest in Ochoa that year, David De Gea would end up arriving as Van der Sar’s replacement instead.
Speaking in 2016, Ferguson opened up on his decision to sign De Gea instead of Manuel Neuer – who was also linked at the time of Van der Sar’s departure.
The Germany international had made a name for himself playing for Schalke in his homeland.
And Ferguson said: “Eric Steele had been scouting David de Gea for quite a while, 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’.
“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.”