United 'will sign' Juventus superstar

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Manchester United are set to buy Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon from Juventus in the summer.

It was revealed by popular Mediaset journalist Gianni Balzarini in his native Italy this weekend. Balzarini claims that Manchester United are the only suitor for Buffon, and the World Cup winner will seal a move to Old Trafford once he has proved his long-term fitness.

Manchester United will not make a move for the Juventus stopper in January because they want to see Buffon recover from his injury and play consistently before splashing out on the Italy number one.

Balzarini - who one of the most revered journalists in his country - is adamant that United are the only serious contenders for the player's signature.

Buffon, who has been linked with a move away from the 'Old Lady' for some time, has not played this season due to an injury suffered at the World Cup in South Africa. It is widely believed that Marco Storari will be the first-choice keeper when Buffon returns to fitness.

Buffon, who cost Juventus a staggering £32.6 million in the summer of 2001, is regarded as one of the finest stoppers in the world and is being urged to make the move to Manchester United as they are seen as having a better chance of winning the Champions League than current side Juventus.

Buffon rebuffed claims of a deal with the Old Trafford club earlier this month, when he told Tuttosport: "Manchester United? I am used to living with these rumours, people have been speaking about this for six years now, but nothing has happened."

This could be seen as a smokescreen according to Balzarini as he believes Sir Alex Ferguson may have already agreed a deal in principle.

Ferguson has been searching for Edwin Van der Sar's replacement for the past few years, but has yet to find one. Ben Foster departed for Birmingham City in the summer and although Tomasz Kuszczak has remained at Old Trafford, he is not seen as a long term number one. Youngster Ben Amos is highly rated, but he will not be ready for first-team for a few years.

No price has been reported, but it is believed that Manchester United would have to pay Juventus at least half of what they paid Parma for his services nine years ago.


Edwin Van der Sar
Premier League
Manchester United
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