Gianluigi Donnarumma has stunned Milan by rejecting their offer of a new contract, placing a number of top clubs from around Europe on alert.
The 18-year-old is widely regarded as the best young goalkeeper in Europe, and has already made 72 appearances in all competitions for the Rossoneri as well as earning four caps for the full Italy national side. His current employers had pictured him keeping goal at the San Siro for as long as the next two decades, but they may now face a battle to retain him beyond a further 12 months.
Donnarumma is already into the final year of his contract with Milan, who were confident of tying him to a new deal when they offered him much-improved terms. But the shot-stopper, whose agent is Mino Raiola, has stunned the Serie A giants by rejecting this offer, as a clearly disappointed club director Marco Fassone confirmed in a press conference on Thursday.
“We are disheartened,” he said. “It’s his final decision. We made a very big offer to the player, who evaluated it and today he informed us that he did not intend to renew. We were confident that Gigio would be the goalkeeper of this new Milan; a pillar upon which we would build, but now we have to re-evaluate everything. But we have to move on; Milan move on.”
What makes this decision all the more surprising is the fact that Milan seem to be heading in the right direction under their new Chinese owners. They are determined to improve on last season’s sixth-place finish, as demonstrated by their early summer spending spree which has saw the arrivals of Andre Silva, Franck Kessie, Ricardo Rodriguez and Mateo Musacchio for a combined €99million.
As for Donnarumma, his situation will likely alert the very biggest clubs from around the continent. Real Madrid, Paris Saint Germain and the two Manchester clubs are all thought to be keeping tabs on any developments. More worrying for the Rossoneri would be the interest from Juventus, as Gianluigi Buffon nears the end of his illustrious career for both club and country.