World football legend Gianluigi Buffon has always admired West Ham United from afar but did he persuade Juventus teammate Daniele Rugani to join another club?
Buffon wrote in his book that he wanted to play for West Ham if he ever moved to England.
And the legendary Italian goalkeeper’s agent confirmed back in 2018 that Buffon had ‘always admired West Ham fans’ (The Sun).
His Juve teammate Rugani was heavily linked with West Ham throughout the transfer window.
West Ham missed out on Italian defender Rugani
According to a report from Corriere Torino (Friday October 2nd, page 16), West Ham were in the driving seat because the centre-back preferred a move to them over other interested clubs.
But he ended up joining French side Rennes instead on deadline day (Rennes official site).
The deal for the 26-year-old is a loan without the option to buy.
Rugani said playing Champions League football was a big factor in his decision, something that was clearly not on offer at West Ham.
But it has emerged Buffon – who played in France for PSG – was the one who persuaded Rugani to choose a move to Rennes instead (Get French Football News).
Buffon persuaded Rugani to join Rennes despite famous West Ham admiration
“I spoke with Gigi and Adrien (Rabiot),” Rugani said, as reported by Get French Football News.
“They really spoke very highly of this division. Gigi was happy with my choice because he was convinced that I would be happy. He said to me that they are a very organised team, difficult to play against.
“(Gigi) said to me that they are a team with a level of organisation that is almost un-French. He spoke very highly about them to me.”
Hammers boss David Moyes had made it clear he was desperate for new signings in a host of positions (whufc.com).
Instead West Ham shed nine players between the end of June and deadline day and signed just one – right-back Vladimir Coufal.
Hammers have second shot at transfer window redemption
West Ham now have until next Friday to sign players from the Championship.
In fairness to Moyes his stated aim this summer was to look to the second tier for top potential.
But the club have already missed out on some of the best players from the Championship.
And with just over a week until that window shuts, West Ham are playing a risky game after leaving Moyes with just 20 senior players in his squad.