A member of Juve’s backroom staff from 2006 has revealed that the club considered signing the then 16-year-old David De Gea after the Italian side were relegated due to their match-fixing scandal.
Michael Rampulla, a former Juventus scout, confirmed that the Turin club was close to signing David De Gea when he was only 16 years old, and still part of Atletico Madrid’s Youth squad.
Back then, the Italian side were fearing that legendary keeper Gianluigi Buffon would leave the club following their relegation for the 2006/07 season due to a match-fixing scandal – a memory still fresh in minds of Juve fans around the globe.
Michael, who was part of Juventus’ backroom staff at the time, confirmed that the club were close to snapping up the Spanish shot-stopper, who was highly regarded as a great goalkeeping talent.
He spoke with Gazzetta Dello Sport when he revealed that the then manager Didier Deschamps was worried that Gianluigi Buffon would leave the club following their relegation.
The fears had resulted in Rampulla being instructed to begin recruiting a new goalkeeper to fill in Buffon’s absence.
“He stayed, the great person that he is, but I was given a list of possible replacements,” the goalkeeping coach, who currently works in China, told the publication.
“The very first on that list was Spaniard De Gea, then he was very young. The best idea is that, given the tradition, Juve relies on an Italian goalkeeper.”
Buffon’s decision to stay with the relegated side earned him eternal respect from Juventus fans, as well as from many other supporters of the game.
The Italian shot-stopper went on to help Juventus get back into the first division, and has guided them to 5 consecutive League titles during the 10 years since.