Paris Saint-Germain Coach Thomas Tuchel says Alphonse Areola is “in pole position” to be number one goalkeeper, ahead of Gianluigi Buffon.
The Italy and Juventus legend moved to Ligue 1 in the summer after his contract in Turin expired, signing on for two seasons.
“Gigi isn’t just a player who is on the bench, he has a big influence on the team on a daily basis,” Tuchel told RMC Sport 1.
“He played really brilliantly at Guingamp, he saved us in the first half when it was 1-0. Gigi has been on the bench because Alphonse needs to play, and Gigi would be well within his rights to just cross his arms on the bench and watch the game.
“That wouldn’t be negative, but he can’t stand it - he’s up, he’s at the front, he’s frenetic.
“He’s there, he’s present, he communicates with the players. He’s in contact with them and he tries to help me at the right moment.
“These little details let you understand why he’s at the top, why he’s had such a great career.
“The decision is not final, but I told Alphonse Areola that in my opinion, he was in pole position to be No. 1 at his boyhood club.
“Alphonse came through the youth system, PSG is his life, it means everything to him.
“He absolutely wants to show what he can do and prove himself at PSG, it’s a situation that must be respected and one we have to capitalise on, because we should be proud to have players like that. They’re the heart and soul of PSG.
“We have a little bit of a different situation with Gigi Buffon, who is a legend, one of Alphonse’s idols and they’re two players with very marked personalities.
“We’ll have to refine things, but if we’re smart and generous with both I’m sure we’ll be rewarded. I’m sure that Alphonse will be good not despite Gigi, but because of Gigi.”
Adrien Rabiot is out of contract at the end of the season, and he’s been linked with a move to Juventus.
“I really like Adrien, I really appreciate it. There’s a difficult situation with the World Cup, which he chose to miss out on, but he’ shown an incredible mentality from the first day in training.
“He’s never missed a single training session, never one drill. We can really trust him, he’s in great shape physically and at the moment he’s crucial to our play.
“He has tremendous potential, and the same goes for him as for Alphonse: he came through the youth team, and I think it’s important to have players like that.
“I love working with him, but I have no influence on the rest.”