In a surprising press conference on Thursday, AC Milan CEO Marco Fassone announced that 18-year-old star goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma will not renew his contract with the club.
“[Mino] Raiola informed us that Donnarumma has made a definitive decision not to renew the contract with Milan,” Fassone said. He continued, “He told us that he does not wish to renew the contract, so his time with Milan will therefore conclude by June 30, 2018 ... Naturally, the decision leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, but now we have to go forward and Milan go forward.”
Donnarumma is already regarded as the best goalkeeping prospect in a generation. He’s been Milan’s starting goalkeeper for the last two seasons, and at 18 is already considered one of Europe’s best. There are only a small handful of teams he wouldn’t start for already, and it would surprise no one if he became the world’s top goalkeeper before his mid-20s. Donnarumma already has four caps for Italy despite the continued presence of Gianluigi Buffon in net for the Azzurri, and he’s arguably the most highly regarded and in-demand teenage goalkeeper of all time.
Who will sign Gianluigi Donnarumma, and how much will the transfer fee be?
Milan could play hardball with Donnarumma’s potential suitors or gamble that he changes his mind if the Rossoneri get off to an excellent start next season. But given the fee they’d be able to collect this summer and the massive rebuilding job underway at Milan, it seems more likely that they’ll sell Donnarumma this summer.
It’s also likely that Donnarumma will be the subject of a bidding war, which will drive up his price even though he only has one year left on his contract and has made it clear he won’t renew. Ultra-rich clubs Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are rumored to be the most interested suitors, while Juventus could also get into the mix as well, perhaps coming to a co-starting goalkeeper arrangement for one year, or loaning him out while Buffon plays his final season.
Jordan Pickford’s £25 million transfer and Ederson Moraes’ £35 million move should inform the price Milan sets. Expect Donnarumma to set a new world-record fee for a goalkeeper, likely shattering the record of €52 million set by Buffon and Juventus in 2001.
The only people who know what Donnarumma wants are the player and the people close to him
It’s impossible to guess where Donnarumma wants to go at the moment. Most indications leading up to Thursday’s news were that Donnarumma wanted to sign a new deal at Milan, and that turned out not to be the case. We don’t know what he wants — the most money, the highest profile, or just a club that he’s comfortable with.
While most players prefer Real Madrid to PSG or Juventus, we don’t know that Donnarumma does. There’s a lot left to unfold in this story. It should be a wild summer of rumors and negotiations.