Leeds United are exploring the possibility of signing Italian goalkeeper legend Gianluigi Buffon and Marseille playmaker Dimitri Payet, according to eyebrow-raising reports this weekend.
With the silly season about to enter full swing, the Mail on Sunday, via Italian newspaper il Corriere della Sera, claims the ambitious Championship side are among a trio of clubs vying to sign the veteran 41-year-old keeper.
The paper claim that Leeds, along with Brazilian side Fluminense and Portuguese giants Porto, are the three clubs who have made contact with the player’s agent over a potential deal.
Buffon is a free agent after leaving PSG at the end of a one-year stay with the club and has already spoken of his determination to play on in what will likely be the last move of his illustrious career.
The keeper is, of course, best remembered for the 17 hugely successful seasons he spent with Juventus, where he enjoyed incredible success and won the Serie A title seven seasons in a row.
His potential signing for Leeds, however, seems highly unlikely with the club looking to offload goalkeeper Kiko Casilla after just six months at Elland Road due to his high wages. Casilla joined Leeds from Real Madrid in January, but his deal to 2023 – and wages of £30,000 a week – were designed purely with promotion in mind and look unsustainable in the Championship.
Which is why links for Buffon seem all the more unlikely and it would take a considerable drop in wages for Buffon for Leeds to even come close to signing the 176-times capped former Italy star.
This is why a loan swoop for Bournemouth’s young keeper Mark Travers looks far more likely for Leeds.
‘Leeds want Payet’
Leeds, meanwhile, have also been linked with an equally-dubious move for Marseille star Payet.
Reports in France claim Marseille are looking to balance the books due to the threat of Financial Fair Play and could offload the Euro 2016 finalist for as little as €7m (£6.25m).
Get French Football claims Leeds, Everton and West Brom are all looking into potential deal for Payet, who cost Marseille £26m when he signed 2017.
However, his current £107,000 a week wages look completely unrealistic for Leeds and West Brom and he’d also likely need to take a huge pay-cut should Everton pursue a deal.
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