Rafael Benitez reveals he was interested in signing Manchester United's David de Gea when he was at Liverpool

The former Reds manager was on the lookout for a replacement in case Pepe Reina left and says the former Atletico Madrid 'keeper will be a quality signing for the Red Devils
Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has admitted he was interested in signing Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea during his time at Anfield.

The 20-year-old moved to Old Trafford this summer for £18 million and has established himself as the club's number one despite having a difficult introduction to English football.

But he could have joined United’s biggest rivals had Pepe Reina left Merseyside whilst Benitez was still in charge.

The Spaniard has been rumoured to be leaving Anfield on a few occasions during his six year stint since joining from Villarreal in 2005 for £6m.

And his former manager said that should he have left the club then De Gea could have been the man to replace him.

"As Liverpool manager I had Pepe Reina - a top class keeper but if you lose Pepe what do you do?” he told Sport magazine.

And despite his shaky start, Benitez, who has also managed Valencia and Inter Milan, believes the young Spaniard will turn out to be a great signing for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team.

“So at that time we were really monitoring David de Gea - he is a player I know has the potential to be a great keeper,” he added.

“He definitely has the quality to be a very good signing in the long term.”