Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Alphonse Areola is set to keep his starting spot over summer signing Gianluigi Buffon.
The Italy legend started PSG’s Trophee des Champions win over Monaco as well as the side’s first two Ligue 1 games, but Areola was given the nod for the next two fixtures, against Angers and Nimes, before the international break.
That decision was taken with Buffon’s Champions League ban in mind, as the Italian is suspended for the first three games of the competition following his red card during Juventus‘ controversial quarter-final loss to Real Madrid last season.
But Tuchel’s comments indicate that Areola has usurped Buffon in the overall pecking order.
“Yes, I chose. The decision is not final but I told Alphonse that he was, in my opinion, in pole position to be number 1,” Tuchel told RMC Sports.
“He comes from the academy. PSG is everything for him. And he absolutely wants to prove himself to PSG.
“This is a situation that must be respected and capitalised on. We must be proud to have players of this nature, we need this type of players who have the soul of PSG, who embody the club.
“We have a different situation with Gianluigi Buffon, a legend, an idol of Alphonse who is at his side.
“Both players have very strong personalities. We will have to fine-tune things.
“Gigi knows it, Alphonse knows it, if you get there, in this configuration, to be smart and generous with both, I’m sure we’ll be rewarded.
“And I’m sure that Alphonse will not be good despite Gigi but thanks to Gigi.”
However, Tuchel was quick to point out that even if Buffon were to be established as the backup keeper, he would be more than just a squad player.
“Gigi is not just a player on the bench. On a daily basis, he is a player who has a very big influence on the team, he played brilliantly against Guingamp for example, he saved us in the second half.
“He is on the bench because Alphonse needs minutes.
“Gigi would have the right to cross his arms on the bench and watch the game but he does not support it! It’s frenetic!
“He is present, he communicates with the players, tries to help me… and you understand why he is at the top and has such a career.”