Man Utd boss Ferguson made personal check on Atletico Madrid keeper De Gea

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is lining up a bid for Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David De Gea.

The Mirror says 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.