West Ham are closing in on the signing of Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, with the Frenchman arriving in London to undergo a medical ahead of a potential transfer.
Areola, who was a non-playing member of France’s World Cup-winning squad in 2018, spent last season on loan at Fulham and impressed in the Premier League despite the Cottagers finishing the campaign in 18th place and dropping into the Championship.
Sky Sports reports that Areola is now back in London for his West Ham medical ahead of an initial loan deal that will include an option to buy next summer.
It is thought that personal terms with the 28-year-old have already been agreed ‘in principle’, while PSG are happy to let him go after already bringing in Gianluigi Donnarumma this summer to compete with existing number one Keylor Navas.
At West Ham, Areola will be tasked with competing with Lukasz Fabianski and could ultimately prove to be a replacement for the 36-year-old Poland international. Darren Randolph and David Martin are the other goalkeepers currently in the Hammers’ first-team squad.
Areola was born and raised in Paris and joined PSG’s youth ranks at the age of 12, later also spending time at the esteemed French academy at Clairefontaine to further his development. He made his first-team debut for Les Parisiens in 2013 at the age of 20, but spent the subsequent three seasons out on loan at Lens, Bastia and Villarreal, gaining invaluable experience as a starter.
The goalkeeper returned to PSG and shared responsibilities with Kevin Trapp during the 2016/17 season, before establishing himself as number one the following campaign. However, the arrival of Gianluigi Buffon and sharing duties limited him to only 21 Ligue 1 appearances in 2018/19.
Areola joined Real Madrid on loan for the 2019/20 season as part of the deal that saw Keylor Navas moved to PSG and made nine total appearances as an understudy to Thibaut Courtois.
A loan to Fulham was completed in September 2020 and he played all but two of the Cottagers’ 38 Premier League games, finishing the season as the club’s player of the season, as voted for by fans.