Areola hit the headlines on Thursday when he made his France debut in the Nations League encounter against Germany. Didier Deschamps’ world champions owed the 25-year-old shot-stopper a debt of gratitude as he turned in a man-of-the-match display in Munich, most notably making an incredible diving stop from a Mathias Ginter header in the 75th minute.
However, he had considered leaving PSG this summer as the Ligue 1 champions added Gianluigi Buffon to their ranks on a free transfer. And given his close relationship with Lollichon, he had wanted to switch to the Stamford Bridge side, who were in the market for a new goalkeeper as Thibaut Courtois moved for Real Madrid.
In the end, they signed Kepa Arrizabalaga for a world-record fee of £72m ($93m), but Lollichon has said he would have been pleased to work with his countryman.
“We spoke a lot in the summer,” he told Le Figaro. “He wanted to come here, but the final decision was not my responsibility. It would have been a pleasure to work with him.”
The renowned goalkeeper coach believes that Areola is already superior to long-time France No.1 Hugo Lloris.
“I didn’t have to wait until Thursday to discover Areola,” he said. “For me, he’s already the best French goalkeeper today.
“His size, his ball-playing qualities, his calmness – he’s the keeper most adapted to playing in the way of the team.
“We eulogise about Lloris too much, but Areola is above him.
“Against Germany, he was very good in his position and his ability to cut out balls behind his defence. It’s the base of any goalkeeper, but not everyone can do it as well. Alphonse is very pro-active.”
Lollichon went on to lament how the young keeper has been treated by PSG.
“It’s sad to see a club like Paris play a 40-year-old goalkeeper while you have a 25-year-old Areola who meets all expectations,” he said. “In Ligue 1, Buffon can play another one or two years, but in the Champions League be careful – it’s much faster and I’ve got reservations.
“Alphonse will grow alongside Buffon, who can add to his game every day. But he must play, otherwise he’ll miss his chance.”