Gazidis explains Milan’s decision to offload Bonucci and Donnarumma: “Some contracts were too high”

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis has explained the thinking behind the decisions that led to Leonardo Bonucci and Gianluigi Donnarumma leaving the club.

Bonucci joined Milan in a big-money move from Juventus in the summer of 2017 as part of the spending spree that Yonghong Li sanctioned after taking over the club, however the centre-back never really settled and he returned to Juve the next summer.

Donnarumma meanwhile came through Milan’s academy system and made his debut aged just 16, but in the summer of 2017 he seemed destined to leave as Mino Raiola announced that he would not sign a professional deal, but Fassone and Mirabelli eventually convinced him with a very big deal.

During his interview with ESPN, Gazidis explained why one of the first necessary actions after his arrival at the club was to get rid of high earners such as the aforementioned duo, with relaying his comments.

“There were many heavy contracts, almost too many to name, players that cost a lot like Bonucci for example. They had renewed Gianluigi Donnarumma, an excellent goalkeeper, but with a huge contract to keep him,” he said.

“Some contracts were too high in relation to the performance of these players on the pitch. There were probably 10 different examples of players who fell into that category. And players, when overpaid for their performance, are really hard to sell.

“But when you get those players out, then you need someone to play. The only way to bring in new signings is obviously to spend money and therefore the goal is to spend effectively and efficiently.”

Tags AC Milan Gianluigi Donnarumma Leonardo Bonucci


  1. Reading between the lines in recent articles, it appears Milan management are preparing the fans incase of a disappointing contract negotiation.

    1. Donnarumma should have been sold prior to his contract, that paid him 6 mil a season expired, not resigned for 12 mil and then sold.
      As Gazidis is saying” players, when overpaid for their performances are hard to sell”.
      Gigio wanted 12 mil a season. If you give him that who are you going to sell him to.? It’s one thing to sign him as a free agent and give him high salary, it’s completely different when you gotta pay 60,70,80 mil transfer fee and then give him 12 mil. Plus PSG signed him because he was free, they didn’t even need him.
      Once a player is signed to a high salary its impossible to move him even on loan, because not many teams want to pay that high salary and no player in their right mind is lowering their guaranteed salary until that contract expires.

  2. Interesting how the top 4 teams in Serie A right now are all cost conscious clubs who have made smart choices in the market and on the bench. Of these I think Lazio might be a flash in the pan, but Atalanta, Napoli and now Milan have been smart and they are sustainable and now they’re also winning. Meanwhile, the two big spenders of Serie A (Juventus and Inter) are barely staying afloat in the league, one is out of the CL and both are in huge debt. One is looking for a buyer/investors, the other is cheating/taking capital injections from its dumb owners. Thanks to three of four clubs in particular and the EPL in general, transfer fees, agent fees and contracts have gone through the roof. They to stop that is refuse to pay them, or cap them, not to go off and form some fake “Super League” that will do nothin to change this. If those clubs earn more money from that league players and agents will simply raise their demands. It’s a death spiral. Be smart, show restraint, operate within your capacity, learn once again how to rely on scouting and the youth sector.

    1. *Edit: Thanks to three or four clubs in particular (PSG, City, Chelsea and Madrid) and the EPL in general, transfer fees, agent fees and contracts have gone through the roof.

    2. I agree with your comment, well said. Milan and Serie A in general are sleeping giants that are perfectly capable of making the next decade one of massive commercial growth that is also done on a solid foundation. The league isn’t going to spend it’s way out of the Premier League’s shadow. The last couple seasons have shown the path forward, and having 4 or 5 clubs at the top all pushing with similar approaches will be what makes Serie A more compelling than any league in Europe. Hopefully Inter and Juve see which way the wind is blowing and get on board as well, for the sake of the entire league.

    3. Yeah tell that to teams like psg and organizations like fifa and uefa. Psg was 300 mil in the red, and thats just before 640 mil for mbape’ renewal. Teams like that are the ones that are ruining the game. City and Chelsea did the same at first until they became powerhouses in the sport, than managed their finances better.

  3. Yes gazidis is right : if you overpay player it will be hard to get rid that player . Many example already prove it. Get rid of bonucci 8m euro nett salary ,donnarumma 6m euro nett salary are smart move. Donnarumna are good GK but asking 10m euro nett salary which are overpay. No club will buy donnarumma even if AC Milan renew him at all cost,it is just hallucination. The other example are lord hakan, which club want to buy him now? After zhang put his name in market,no club even make official bid for him even just 10m euro transfer fee

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