AC Milan confirmed on Thursday that Gianluigi Donnarumma will not sign a contract extension, with the teenager likely to leave the club at the end of his current contract next summer.
The reason for the breakdown in negotiations is the financial demands of the player and his agent, Mino Raiola. Milan CEO Marco Fassone said, “The evaluations were just not economic.
“Naturally the decision leaves a bad taste in the mouth but we move forward.”
It was rumoured that the 18-year-old was offered a five-year contract worth €4.5 million per year. There were promising signs as the young keeper emphasised his love for the club, and that he was looking for a new house in Milan.
Before news broke of the decision, newly-announced Club Manager Christian Abbiati told Italian media he wants Donnarumma to stay. The ex-Milan keeper told Mediaset, “I hope with all my heart that he can stay.
“He’s loved by all the fans and he’s shown his value by playing at a high level for a year and a half.”
Donnarumma and Raiola fired warning shots at Milan earlier this week, reacting to the club’s supposed ultimatum.
“Milan is very close to my heart, but it is important that my interests are aptly represented.
“The management is new, but they know my will is to stay, but all of my needs should be satisfied.”
Donnarumma broke numerous records by making his Milan and Italy debuts. He became Milan’s second-youngest goalkeeper in Serie A history at 16 years and 242 days old. At 17 years and 189 days he also became Italy’s youngest ever keeper when he made his international senior debut against France on 1 September last year.
In contrast to the send-offs in recent weeks to loyal servants such as Francesco Totti and John Terry, Donnarumma proves loyalty in modern football is a scarce quality.
The question now is – Where will he go?
Real Madrid and Manchester United have been rumoured to be chasing the young superstar’s signature. The Spanish giants willing to offer €6 million per year as Keylor Navas continues to gather speculation about his long-term future.
Closer to home, Juventus have not been subtle about their admiration for Milan keeper. Current captain and Donnarumma’s idol, Gianluigi Buffon, has spoken of how he would like the teenager to eventually replace him as number one. With Donnarumma seen as Buffon’s natural ‘heir’, Juventus seems like an inevitability should he want to stay in Italy.
In the meantime, Donnarumma will be careful not to tarnish his connection with fans. Moving from Milan to Juventus is seen as just as great an insult as moving to city rivals, Inter.
When the time comes for Donnarumma to leave, Milan are at least safe in the knowledge they have another young keeper with huge potential. 17-year-old Alessandro Plizzari is highly rated by the club, having spent last season as second-choice. He saved two penalties for Italy’s third-place play-off against Uruguay in the U20 World Cup this month.