While the emphasis of the Chelsea rumor mill is still on the managerial front, Tuesday saw the emergence of a highly intriguing rumor from Italy.
No, it’s not the Morata-to-Italy narrative, though that’s part of it. This time, it's a proposed deal in which Morata leaves Chelsea for AC Milan, who would circumvent their own financial difficulties by including highly rated goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma as part of the transfer.
For the Rossoneri, this would kill two birds with one stone. Donnarumma has been looking to leave for some time (superagent Mino Raiola doesn’t often fail in this regard), while the team also want to bolster their aging and ineffective striking department. They have been given the green light to negotiate a potential sale of their prized asset. according to Corriere dello Sport.
Il piano del #Milan è proporre al Chelsea #Donnarumma per riuscire ad arrivare a #Morata. Soluzione non impossibile perché l'attaccante spagnolo vuole tornare in Italia (#CorSport) pic.twitter.com/F9hsJBYB1z— Giovanni Capuano (@capuanogio) June 12, 2018
Given the breakdown/delays of contract talks between Chelsea and current first choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was reportedly left baffled by all this even though he knows full well he’s only got one year left on his contract, swapping Morata for Donnarumma is a quasi-logical scenario, not least because both players are supposedly unhappy and looking to leave.
Whether or not this deal would be a swap plus cash deal or simply two straight out sales hasn't really been specified and one must add that these kinds of deals are very rare, with exceptions like the Cole-Gallas situation of 2006 or the Batshuayi-Giroud-Aubameyang triangle last January the exceptions that prove the rule.
Another reason why the Donnarumma possibility shouldn’t be dismissed is because Chelsea’s supposed primary target to replace Courtois, AS Roma’s Alisson Becker, has been given a (kind of) new price tag and it’s something that’s making teams like Liverpool and maybe even Real Madrid take the hint and backing out. The Italian side are looking for an eye watering £80 million, if one is to believe Sky Sports' sources.
So, where does this leave Chelsea if Courtois really does leave the club? There aren't a huge number of candidates available who would be either an upgrade or like-for-like swap skill-wise. Stoke's Jack Butland would be a downgrade, Alisson is priced out and Jan Oblak remains a pipe dream.
Milan's Donnarumma thus represents a great potential opportunity. Previously, he hadn't really been considered due to his ridiculous valuation of approximately € 100 million but if Morata really is dead set on leaving, and Milan want him, then this is an option we shouldn't discard so easily.
Still only 19-years of age, Donnarumma (the Heir to Buffon?) has already played an impressive 125 games for the Rossoneri and surely has a very bright future ahead of him due to his high ceiling.
All that said, because of the World Cup and Courtois’ insistence on not really addressing his future until after it, there probably isn’t going to be much development until July. While neither Morata nor Donnarumma are going to Russia, Courtois is and Chelsea need to sort things out with him first.
Plus, you know, we’ve got to get the manager situation sorted out, too. Plenty to do and no time to waste!