According to Christophe Lollichon – Chelsea‘s goalkeeping coach – Alphonse Areola was keen on a switch to Stamford Bridge this summer, after Thibaut Courtois left the Premier League side for Real Madrid.
The France international was an unused substitute during France’s successful World Cup run this summer, but Lollichon believes the 25-year-old is better than current France number one Hugo Lloris.
The Tottenham shot-stopper is captain of the national team and played all but one of France’s World Cup games with Steve Mandanda getting to nod for the final group stage clash with Denmark. Areola meanwhile became the first uncapped player to lift the World Cup since Hector Zelada in 1986.
With Lloris struggling with a thigh injury, Areola made his international debut in France’s opening UEFA Nations League game against Germany. He impressed against the 2014 World Cup winners, keeping a clean sheet as the tie ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
Speaking after the player’s recent international display, Lollichon opened up on the prospect a potential deal this past summer and was quoted by Le Figaro as saying:
“We spoke a lot in the summer. He wanted to come here but the final decision was not my responsibility. I did not have to wait until Thursday [on his France debut] to discover Alphonse. For me, he is already the best French goalkeeper today – we eulogise about Lloris too much, but Areola is above him.”
Areola gradually displaced Kevin Trapp at PSG over the past few seasons, becoming the first choice keeper last season. The Frenchman made 42 appearances in all competitions for the Ligue 1 champions last year, but may have felt threatened by the arrival of veteran shot-stopper Gianluigi Buffon this summer.
“Alphonse is very proactive,” Lollichon added. “It is sad to see a club like Paris play a 40-year-old goalkeeper while you have a 25-year-old Areola who meets all expectations.
“In Ligue 1, Buffon can play another one or two years, but in the Champions League be careful – it is much faster and I have got reservations.
“Alphonse will grow alongside Buffon, who can add to his game every day. However, he must play, otherwise, he will miss his chance.” Areola has started the last two games for PSG ahead of Buffon as the keeper bids to hold onto his starting spot.