Donnarumma Is On Chelsea’s Radar – What Should Milan Do?

In a bid to full the goalkeeping void in his Chelsea side, Frank Lampard is reportedly lining up a £50 million bid for Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Donnarumma, 21, is probably one of Europe’s most underrated footballers, let alone goalkeepers. He arrived on the scene five years ago and immediately became Milan’s no.1, making his Serie A debut in the 2015-16 season where he made 32 first-team appearances in all competitions.

He was still playing for Italy’s U-17 side at the time, but he’s since overtaken the longstanding Gianluigi Buffon to become the Azzurri no.1 as well. Donnarumma has now been Milan’s first-choice goalkeeper for five years, making over 200 appearances for the club, and a further 16 for the country.

It’s been a startling entrance into European football for Donnarumma then. He plays as though he’s been Milan’s no.1 for years before, and that maturity at such a young age is arguably his best asset – something that was inevitably going to make him a target of Europe’s top clubs sooner or later.

The Rossoneri have no doubt had Donnarumma’s potential exit in the back of their minds since his breakthrough aged 16. Milan moved to secure Donnarumma’s mid-term future at the San Siro by offering him a four-year contract back in 2017, meaning he’s now just a year left on his contract.

Donnarumma is the second-youngest goalkeeper to debut in Serie A, aged 16 years and 242 days.

Extending his stay past next year has long been seen as one of Stefano Pioli’s immediate goals during this pre-season. He and the board are hoping to build a more sustainable club, centered around younger players, and with Donnarumma as one of the “diamonds” of this new era.

But his wage demands are alleged to be out of Milan’s reach – Donnarumma reportedly wants six million euros a season to stay – and that could yet see him leave the club for nothing next summer. That’d be a travesty for Milan. To lose a player like Donnarumma for free would be a huge loss, and it could well tempt them into selling this month.

The move seems to have come about fast. Chelsea are looking to replace the unreliable Kepa, having been heavily linked with Jan Oblak throughout the summer. But that move seems to be losing pace, and now Football Insider are reporting that Chelsea are “opening talks” with Donnarumma.

Football Insider report that Chelsea realize that securing the Milan stopper before the start of the 2020-21 Premier League season is a “long shot” and that Milan have previously valued the 21-year-old at £50 million.

Chelsea though have already spent heavily on the likes of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, and Ben Chilwell, and with Kai Havertz closing in on a £96 million move as well. We know Chelsea likely won’t be put off spending another £50 million on Donnarumma, and so that “long shot” bid might not be so long after all.

Timo Werner scored his first goal for Chelsea just four minutes into his debut for the club on Saturday. 

Roman Abramovich’s pockets are deep – probably deep enough to pay Donnarumma that six million euros a year deal. Milan then could be getting ever-weary of losing one of their stalwart players, especially given that the relatively unused Asmir Begovic is their no.2 currently, with Donnarumma’s older brother Antonio the third choice.

Pioli will be cautious of Chelsea’s next move regarding Donnarumma. It’s a turn of events after the talk for so long has been on Donnarumma’s potential new contract, and with the 21-year-old only having a year left, the incentive is there for Milan to sell.

£50 million seems cheap in this market for a keeper as good and as young as Donnarumma, but the money could be used well by Milan. They need a few more bodies in before next month’s start date – most likely a keeper if Donnarumma does leave – so this is a move that should be given close attention, and close thought by Pioli.