PSG chief denies link with Buffon

PARIS • Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has poured water on suggestions Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon could step in to replace the French club's No. 1 Alphonse Areola.

Buffon played his final game for the Italian giants in a 2-1 win over Verona on Saturday, capping a 17-year career in Turin that harvested seven consecutive Serie A titles.

The 40-year-old's contract will expire in a matter of weeks but, when asked if the French capital could be the emblematic Italian's next destination, Al-Khelaifi told L'Equipe sports daily yesterday: "We have Areola, he's our No. 1."

When then asked if that would also be the case next season, Al-Khelaifi replied: "Yes, for sure."

He added: "He (Buffon) is a fantastic goalkeeper, he's very charismatic and is a true gentleman. I'm sure all the clubs want him."

Areola underlined his feelings about the situation when he told Le Parisien newspaper on Saturday he wanted to "remain No. 1" at PSG and would leave the club if that were not to be the case next season.

"Because if I'm not the No. 1 any more, it would mean the season I've just finished has all counted for nothing," said the 25-year-old, whose own deal ends in June next year.

The French champions will be led by manager Thomas Tuchel next season after the German succeeded Spaniard Unai Emery. According to German newspaper Bild, Tuchel is hoping to be reunited with Germany midfielder Julian Weigl.

The duo worked together at Borussia Dortmund, who would be willing to sell the player for €50 million (S$79 million), reported Bild.

PSG have also been linked with a move for Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, with L'Equipe reporting that the 26-year-old's agent met PSG sporting director Antero Henrique last week to discuss a potential transfer.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2018, with the headline 'PSG chief denies link with Buffon'. Print Edition | Subscribe