By Amir Mir
Pierluigi Gollini has revealed he rejected the chance to sign for Serie A giants Juventus before joining Aston Villa.
The highly-rated Italian signed for the Midlands club last week from Hellas Verona for a fee of £4.1 million, opting for a move to Villa Park rather than potentially succeeding his lifetime hero Gianluigi Buffon.
Gollini revealed the strength of Villa’s interest was an important factor in which offer to accept.
“It’s true Juve wanted me,” Gollini told the Birmingham Mail. “But Villa’s interest was much more solid. They were very determined to take me.
“For me this was a very important thing. When someone really wants you and they think you have great potential, it means they believe in you and this is important.”
The Villa youngster will now fight for a place in the first team with Villa’s Brad Guzan and Mark Bunn, who both had torrid campaigns last season.
The Midlands outfit conceded 76 goals during the 2015-16 season as Guzan and Bunn failed to cement down a place in the first team.
Gollini revealed that there would have been more difficulties had he moved to the Serie A champions, but insisted he wanted to make the move to English football.
“With Juventus they have a lot of things going on,” said Gollini. “If I wanted to see what was going to happen with them I would have had to wait until the very end of the transfer market.
“The interest from Villa was much more solid and I wanted this opportunity. I also think Buffon will play for another two years.”
The Italy under-20 international had a huge opportunity to work under Juventus and Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon who has made 161 appearances for the national side.
Buffon appeared in the recently concluded European Championships where his home country surprised many by making the quarter final stages of the Euro’s, before being knocked out by Germany on penalties.
Gollini, 21 revealed that he swapped shirts with the his hero last season and that the 38-year-old was his favourite player growing up.
“If he plays in the next World Cup he will be the one with the most appearances in history,” said Gollini
“And if he can’t play, he’s going to play anyway! That’s the way he is! When I was a kid he was my favourite goalkeeper. Last season I had the chance to swap my jersey with him. For me it was a big pleasure and a dream come true.”
In other Aston Villa news, it has been revealed that a former player from the club has been sacked in his role as a football pundit.