Manchester City's wealthy Arab owners have launched a world-record £50million bid to sign Gianluigi Buffon, widely regarded as the best goalkeeper on the planet. A delegation from the Barclays Premier League club travelled to Turin this month to discuss a possible transfer and, despite the protestations of Juventus, City firmly expect to secure a deal by making an offer that neither the goalkeeper nor his club can refuse.>>timesonline.
It seems that the Buffon story is certainly gathering some momentum at the moment, and it certainly is no secret Hughes is looking to bring in a goalkeeper (particularly given his reluctance to throw Kasper Schmeichel into the fray given Hart surely could not have been 100%).
In his post match interview yesterday, Hughes was not giving much away although it may be suggested he was hardly revealing all with this excerpt from The Independent:
Mark Hughes enjoyed only City's second win against Arsenal in the Premier League. His owners are apparently interested in the notion of paying £63m for Juventus' Gigi Buffon. "I don't know what you're talking about," Hughes grinned, when that notion was put to him.Juventus themselves have been more forcible on the issue, with both Claudio Ranieri and Jena-Claude Blanc insistent that Buffon will not be going anywhere, yet The Telegraph reports Buffon himself would be open to the possibility of joining the club:
"If a club is willing to pay that much for you, it would be fair to say I will tell my agents to make the deal happen," said Buffon."Juve can go and buy a team full of champions of their own."I don't think there is any question that the addition of Buffon would improve the side and give us a goalkeeper who is truly capable of winning games by himself. Given he was bought by Juventus for £32 million back in 2001, a fee of £50 million may not even be considered too high a price and he still has plenty of years ahead of him.
Quite what it would do for the confidence or future of Joe Hart though is a different matter, and having identified him as a definite talent this could be a huge setback in terms of his development.
From what we have seen so far though, Hughes has shown no signs of letting sentiment get in the way of any decisions he makes.