Thursday February 11 2021
What future for Donnarumma?

Gigio Donnarumma’s exponential growth as a goalkeeper, compounded with his maturation into a leader, but his contract extension remains a matter of concern for Milan, writes Matt Santangelo.

Anointed “predestinato” at a very early age, Gianluigi Donnarumma’s flair for the dramatic save had rescued a below average Milan side plenty here in his formative years, heroics worthy of the brightest lights afforded to a footballer, as well as a handsome pay increase reflective of the phenom he had become overnight as a bright-eyedteenager.

At the time of his contract renewal saga in 2017, Donnarumma had already established himself as one of the best young goalkeepers in world football, for his freakishly large frame, reflexes and command of his area were all uncharacteristic of someone his age.

Initially, previous directors Massimiliano Mirabelli and Marco Fassone had waved the proverbial white flag on finding a suitable agreement with Donnarumma and his agent Mino Raiola, going as far as releasing a public statement that the Italian shot-stopper would not be signing an extension.

After fake dollar bills rained down on young Gigio and Milan Club Poland packed up their “Dollarumma” banner while he served international duty with Italy’s U21s, all parties eventually sat back down at the negotiation table and reached a deal that would make Donnarumma one of the game’s highest paid keepers.

Though most Milan fans were delighted to retain the once in a generation youngster, others expressed displeasure with how he and Raiola handled proceedings. Some were ready to part with the Castellammare di Stabia-born talent entirely in favor of a cheaper option with less distractions attached to his agent, namely academy product Alessandro Plizzari who former president Silvio Berlusconi held in high regard.

Despite this, Donnarumma would only continue to deliver, embracing the pressure that comes with a lofty pay raise and being christened Gianluigi Buffon’s heir to the National Team throne.

But, it was never a matter of Gigio’s talent, rather, could Milan construct a winning project thatwould offer him the opportunity to play in the UEFA Champions League and compete for silverware.

Over the past year, the Red And Black have experienced a moment of success unknown to the club since the early 2010s, one with the now 21-year old Donnarumma at the very heart of it.

Stefano Pioli, along with Zlatan Ibrahimović, has been largely influential to the many youngsters Paolo Maldini and company have ushered through the doors of Milanello. Amassing north of 200 appearances, Donnarumma’s collected the experience of a veteran, and as a result, has undertaken a leadership role on the basis of him being one of the longest tenured members in the squad.

Gigio has become a shot caller as the last line of defence. Barking orders, organizing his defenders and holding his teammates accountable, he is becoming a more complete goalkeeper who, with his imposing presence, improved distribution and intangibles, must be respected as truly elite.

Look to his most recent performance last weekend away to Bologna as evidence, a match Milan seemed to be in firm control of only to barely hang on to win 2-1.

Donnarumma’s clutch saves in the face of late adversity proved yet again how decisive he can be, adding validity to countryman Stefano Sorrentino’s firm appraisal of the Milan star as “the best goalkeeper in the world.”

While Milan do sit ahead of rivals Inter atop the Serie A table, and remain laser-focused on the upcoming months, the elephant in the room cannot be ignored: Donnarumma’s contract renewal.

Donnarumma’s current deal sees him earn €6 million per season net, but Raiola is reportedly requesting in excess of €10 million for his client, a sum that would put him in the same  category as David De Gea (Manchester United), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid) and Manuel Neuer (BayernMunich).

Surely Milan could decline Raiola’s lucrative demands, let Donnarumma walk for free and survey the goalkeeper market in the summer for a more affordable alternative. However, Milan have to examine this much differently.

Donnarumma is not only a supreme talent with a handful of years under his belt. He has become a face for the club, a leader and the caliber of goalkeeper you can potentially build a project around, perhaps like Juventus had done with Buffon or Bayern currently with Neuer.

An improved financial position and neater wage bill can accommodate a highly-paid star like Donnarumma who is has yet to reach the apex of his full potential.

Then there is the undeniable strength of the project which best addresses a previous concern of Raiola. Even if he wishes to shop his client to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain or Premier League’s elite, the will of the player works to the benefit of the Milan.

Whether or not he commits to the club for the foreseeable future could ultimately rest on a long-awaited return to the ChampionsLeague.


Have your say...

You accuse Juve of spending, as if that's the only way they do things, but they spend bigger because they have been the best run club in Italy for the last decade.

Many other clubs, yours included, have been run by clowns for the best part in that same time span.

Name a club in Italy that has spent more wisely than Juve in the last 10 years ...

And as for total expenditure/income from transfers, Milan have spent 89m MORE than Juve since 2015
on the 7th February, 2021 at 11:28pm
@Juve man

I mentioned Bennacer ONCE... don't lie
on the 7th February, 2021 at 6:52pm
@Juve man

" they were the better team when you beat them"

WTF are you talking about, how on earth were they the better team??? LOOOOL

" I couldn’t care less, we are rubbish and will need to start spending.

Sure sound like a Juve fan to me, go spend...LOL
on the 7th February, 2021 at 6:51pm
@ Juve man

Blah blah blah blah blah

Talk is cheap, we'll see when the time comes. You keep dreaming though.
on the 7th February, 2021 at 4:14pm
Also with a full squad available I doubt your lineup would change that much, you have been winning because of the form of guys coming in.. the others aren’t that good. Viktor you constantly go on about Bennacer but he isn’t that good, if he was another team would have bought him already. We smashed roma this morning and watching both games, think roma were by far the better opponent.
on the 7th February, 2021 at 12:52am
@viktor and Milan fan - yes heavy favourites - they were the better team when you beat them, they smashed you a few weeks ago with their game play and they dominated us over 2 games. And we had absolutely no problem against you. A Milan- inter combined 11 would have like 3 milan players max. They will win it this year unless conte ruins it for them hopefully. But after winning serie a for 10 years, I couldn’t care less, we are rubbish and will need to start spending. Gigi perfect start
on the 7th February, 2021 at 12:48am

Juve could certainly get him. They are very good at signing Bosmans.

As for not being able to offer what MC and PSG offer, isn't the wage bill at Juve higher than either of those clubs?
on the 7th February, 2021 at 12:08am
@ a Varsavia Doesn’t matter, he’s our keeper. Milan won titles with Rossi and Dida.
on the 6th February, 2021 at 9:56pm
He's not as good goalkeeper as seen by Italian fans.
on the 6th February, 2021 at 5:06pm
@Juve man

If I'm over-confident then yours is through the roof. We won the first leg against Inter and Roma were lucky to escape with a draw. We beat Napoli 1-3 on their turf and you were lucky to play Milan's B team and yet barely won. We are the leaders, you are the chasing pack and you have too much confidence for a fourth-placed team. So don't make me laugh and get outta here with that "he's ours" nonsense. Even if Milan drop down a division he won't be joining Juventus. Keep dreaming. LMAO
on the 6th February, 2021 at 4:56pm
His shot stopping is second to none but for a keeper of his size he doesn't command the box well enough on crosses as Oblak and Courtois do who are similar in height and stature. He also looks very uncomfortable with the ball at his feet which although has improved, is still not up to modern standards. Having said all this to lose him for free would be a travesty for Milan so as others have said they should offer him whatever he wants, then sell in a year or two for a massive fee
on the 6th February, 2021 at 11:52am
@Juve man

"As good as our" hahahah... You cannot match what PSG, CITY or the big guns will offer, he'll go abroad, thankfully
on the 6th February, 2021 at 9:36am
@Juve man

"(inter heavy favourites and"

Why the hell would they be heavy favourites?

If we have our full team its even game.. stop talking nonsense.
on the 6th February, 2021 at 9:35am
Donnarumma has to be our No 1 priority. Forget any transfer moves, signing this guy will be the signing of the season. Whatever about his talent, he gives stability and an identity. We need that. We need to build on what we've got. A football club is not just some name or brand, it's history is part of the story but it's in the past, a football club is the 11 players we watch each week. If you change those players as often as shoes it loses all meaning.
on the 6th February, 2021 at 9:15am
They will have to renew, they can't let the team's most valuable player walk away for nothing. But I can see him leaving within 12 months if Milan don't continue to be competitive in Serie A / the Champions League. And Tatarusanu isn't such a terrible keeper....
on the 6th February, 2021 at 9:00am
@milan fan - so much confidence that youl finish in top 4. You play Inter and roma in a few weeks, lose both of those games (inter heavy favourites and roma squad at least on par) and your lead is gone. Not to mention both us and Napoli will finish above you too. So that’s 1 spot between you roma and Atalanta will a full half season to go.. don’t make top 4 and he’s as good as ours..
on the 6th February, 2021 at 4:44am
If he can improve his footwork, he’ll definitely be the best GK in the world. In shot-stopping wise imo, he already is.
Whatever happens, please milan don’t let him go to Juve......
...for free.
on the 5th February, 2021 at 10:57pm
2. Renew his contract this time, keeping his sale value high then hope to sell him in the short term for the best money they can get ... 50 million and higher. If Milan have aspirations of competing with the big boys of European football again then lucrative contracts for world class players are part and parcel of this
on the 5th February, 2021 at 10:06pm
I think he is rightfully regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Unfortunately in today’s game he therefore can command wages similar to other goalkeepers of his caliber and his agent knows this all too well!! I think Milan have two options not just now but in the long term. 1. Renew his contract tying him to a lucrative contract, but also knowing that they face increasing it every time he needs to renew with them.
on the 5th February, 2021 at 10:03pm
It's very simple. Since Milan will be in CL next season, he will remain with one more renew. Then, if Milan continues to be ambitious (or sold to some rich person/company) then the wage bill could grow further/better players signed and thus he, too, will remain beyond that. Otherwise he'll be sold.
on the 5th February, 2021 at 8:49pm
i would still bet on donnarumma signing a new contract equally it really is a matter of time before he leaves the club. what he gets paid would make his departure all but inevitable. Besides the temptation of playing in a different country maybe too hard to resist in the coming years.

I would hope when he does leave milan and donnarumma can leave on a high with no animosity.
on the 5th February, 2021 at 7:47pm
Donnarumma is top 3 goalkeeper in the world alongside him neuer and olblack...i personally think at the moment is the best....he is a leader the way he organises the defence....I think after ibra all those Milan players are scared of him and he is only 21...I think he will renew...only obstacle is raiola he doesn’t care he just wants money.he deserves 10 mil and more he is that good.
on the 5th February, 2021 at 7:36pm
I am bit tired of this soap opera over and over...

He is the top earner in the club having won absolutely zero. So I would cave and extend his contract for 10m and sell him next year. If Milan loses him for zero euros, it would be one of the biggest mistakes at this club
on the 5th February, 2021 at 6:56pm
@Vieri movement @Michael Cornell

"The problem with Donnarumma is that he cant save shots to his right, he is useless at it..."

Interesting that you two share the exact same thought not to mention you out together the exact same sentence as well.. lol
on the 5th February, 2021 at 6:22pm
@Michael Cornell

Umm..... so basically 50% (if ppl shots left just as often as right) means 50% of Donnarumma is useless?

I find that very hard to believe. He was awful with his footwork before, which is keys these days for a goalie, that as approved. In terms of reaction and saves the man is like Spiderman. He is currently top 5 in the world, renew and then sell him for 70m to psg, city or such.
on the 5th February, 2021 at 6:20pm
This isn't Milan of the last decade - the club has turned the page finally and is looking like having a potential to continue climbing up. Thus, Gigio isn't at a dead beat club. So his aspirations for silverware wouldn't be dead here. Ultimately it's up to him which road to go down on... one with his boyhood club gunning for glory, or down the mercenary road dictated by a super agent looking for a bigger payday. Hope chooses as thoroughly as he plays.
on the 5th February, 2021 at 4:55pm
(cont) Having said that, if Gigio believes in this club as much as they believe in him, and wants to be the next symbol, like Maldini, he has the influence over Raiola to curb the demands a bit because at 21 ten million a season is a ton of money. Again - this isn't a valuation of his skill - he definitely deserves to be one of the highest paid in the field. But it's a compromise a footballer can make for the club that produced him, to stay on and help win trophies.
on the 5th February, 2021 at 4:52pm
Tough spot for Milan managment - I don't envy them. Gigio is fantastic and worth every penny he commands. is he worth 10mil - absolutely. But can Milan afford to hold on to him much longer - remains to be seen. I see Milan negotiating one more renewal with him at a hefty cost, but come the next renewal window, they would need to cash in on him as his salary would go even higher. And when they cash in, they should break records for a GK sale. (cont...)
on the 5th February, 2021 at 4:49pm
The problem with Donnarumma is that he cant save shots to his right, he is useless at it. His positioning is all wrong and he hasnt improved over the years at it either, just go on youtube and watch, all strikers have to do is shoot to his right and it goes in. produces great saves on his left tho but not good enough so get rid
on the 5th February, 2021 at 3:52pm
The problem with Donnarumma is that he cant save shots to his right, he is useless at it. His positioning is all wrong and he hasnt improved over the years at it either, just go on youtube and watch, all strikers have to do is shoot to his right and it goes in. produces great saves on his left tho but not good enough so get rid
on the 5th February, 2021 at 3:51pm

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.