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Is Gianluigi Buffon heading to Manchester United?

Gianluigi Buffon, the most expensive goalkeeper in the world, appears to be heading to Manchester United. The custodian, who currently plays for Juventus in Serie A, was spotted house hunting in the Manchester area and analysts concluded that this was because he is close to moving to a club in the city. Recognising that Manchester City have the wealth to sign the Italian on almost any terms he might reasonably request suggests they were the forerunners for his signature but the team already have Joe Hart, the current England goalkeeper, between the sticks and Shay Given, an expensive goalkeeper, in reserve. With two options like these and Joe Hart performing so impressively as number one it is quite apparent that Gianluigi Buffon is not necessarily needed by Manchester City and so a move to the Eastlands stadium appears unlikely.

At Old Trafford, the stadium of Manchester City’s local rivals Manchester United, there is a pressing need for a new goalkeeper as Edwin Van Der Sar is expected to retire at the end of the campaign and Tomas Kusczak, the current number two goalkeeper, is not expected to be promoted to the number one position. Kusczak is bound to be frustrated by Sir Alex Ferguson’s supposed reluctance to promote him to the position of number one but Sir Alex Ferguson, on the other hand, will contest that the Polish goalkeeper has had several seasons as an understudy to establish himself as a number one but has failed to do so and so the Pole can hardly blame the manager. Kusczak, in reply, would state that when he has been called upon he has impressed sufficiently enough to warrant an extended trial as the number one. Gianluigi Buffon, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, has for several seasons been recognised as one of the best goalkeepers in the world but has, in recent times, been plagued by a back injury.

The Italian international has been loyal to Juventus ever since he joined the club for a world record fee for a goalkeeper, from Parma several years ago. He even stayed with the club when they were demoted to Serie B for a season but he has not enjoyed any success with the club for the past few seasons as Juventus have been enduring a difficult period and have been unable to maintain any sustained challenge for trophies. It is speculated that should he move to Manchester United he will command a salary of close to £5 million a season and the agreed transfer fee between the two clubs will approach £16 million.