The situation surrounding Gianluigi Donnarumma has been described as ‘delicate’ in the media, and that is exactly how everything feels.
The summer transfer window once again saw Milan’s prized young goalkeeper linked with a move away from the Rossoneri, with Paris Saint-Germain believed to be the interested party.
In fact, the majority of speculation that came out from Italian outlets – such as La Gazzetta dello Sport – suggested that Paolo Maldini and the rest of the club’s leadership were not completely against selling him for the right price.
Donnarumma ended up staying at the club as PSG opted to sign Keylor Navas instead, and attention has now turned to renewing his contract which expires in 2021.
A report from il Corriere dello Sport on Wednesday claimed that Milan were preparing an offer to renew Donnarumma’s contract with a lower salary.
This is where it becomes abundantly clear that there are two key obstacles that Milan must overcome in order for all parties to reach a suitable agreement for the 20-year-old to continue his stay at San Siro.
The first hurdle is his huge €6million-a-year salary; one of the legacies of the Mirabelli and Fassone era under the Chinese, as well as lumbering the club with the salary of brother Antonio Donnarumma – who it must be said is now somewhat of a cult hero.
Gigio is comfortably the highest earner at the club as La Gazzetta dello Sport‘s recent salary study showed, and as mentioned there are suggestions that the club wish to lower it.
This is where the second hurdle comes in: the club are dealing with a notoriously tough negotiator in Mino Raiola, and man whom the club have already had friction with over this issue before albeit under different owners.
There is one thing we should be certain on: there will be no discounts from Donnarumma’s side, and nor should there be.
At 20 years of age it would be absolutely fair to call him one of the best goalkeepers in the world and an established international, so in what world do Maldini and co. think that Raiola is going to allow his client to take a salary cut?
🙌 Best save success rate in 2019 (Europe's top five leagues, more than 10 appearances):
1⃣ Donnarumma – 81.9%
2⃣ Oblak – 81.2%
3⃣ Sirigu – 79.2%
— MilanData📊 (@acmilandata) September 11, 2019
In football, there is no true prize for loyalty but the affection from the fans, but loyalty should also not be punished.
Admittedly, Gigio’s renewal is an increasingly pressing matter, as Milan understandably do not want to get to the end of this season with no extension agreed and risk either a) losing him on the cheap or b) the player entering the final 12 months of his deal.
What is also apparent though is that the club’s owners – Elliott Management – are not ones for being sentimental for those who are not willing to be part of the club’s long-term vision moving forward.
This long-term vision is not about just profiles of players but also a wage structure that they deem to be compliant with the financial restraints required to keep the balance sheet healthy and retain a working relationship with UEFA in regards to Financial Fair Play.
So, what we can extract from this is that we have the side of the club – who are not willing to offer the same terms in a new deal let alone a pay rise – and the side of Raiola, who will absolutely not accept a pay cut for his client at such a crucial stage in his young career.
All Milan can hope is that the player’s will comes through and the club gets the fairytale deal they are after, but at the moment it feels like a slippery slope towards the exit door.
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