5 Goalkeepers that could replace Gianluigi Buffon at Juventus
It has been coming and it has been finally confirmed, Juventus and Italian goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon will leave the club at the end of the season.
The former Parma goalies has been an ever-present ever between the posts for the Bianconeri since he joined in a then world record-fee (for a goalkeeper) of £23.3m in 2001.
After 17 glorious seasons that has seen the veteran shot-stopper win all, there is to win in domestic Italian football at least thrice, age has finally caught up with the peerless one and his performances this season have not been as glorious as expected.
While he will have regrets about never lifting the UCL despite appearing in 3 finals (2003, 2015, 2017), his trophy haul is still an enviable one.
How to replace an irreplaceable goalkeeper, leader and inspirational figure like Gigi will be a headache that manager Massimilano Allegri and the Juve board will have to deal with.
Current number two Wojech Szcesney is a very good goalkeeper but there are doubts about his suitability for the Number One role at such a prestigious club so it is expected that La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady) may have to go into the transfer market to get a suitable replacement.
Here is a look at 5 possible replacements for the Juve legend:
#5 Alphonse Areola (PSG)
Areola has been touted as the long-term competition/replacement for current national team 1st choice and captain, Hugo Lloris and is gradually getting to a top class level.
He has been very good for PSG this season and has been a commanding and reassuring presence in Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League for Unai Emery's team.
However, rumors linking big-name goalies like David De Gea, Jan Oblak, Thibault Courtois to the club have refused to abate and given the club’s financial splurge on players, since it was taken over by Oryx Qatar Sports Investments 2011, these rumors are not far-fetched.
Given Areola’s relative youth and abilities, he would make a good replacement for Buffon and will not cost an arm and leg as his contract with the Paris giants is set to end in 2019.
With his place in France’s World Cup squad almost assured but with pressure from outstanding young goalies like Alban Lafont (Toulouse), Areola will be willing to go somewhere where he is assured of becoming the undisputed number one.
The 25-year old is an impressive shot-stopper who uses his height well to block opposition attackers but has room for improvement in terms of distribution and commanding his defence.