Gianluigi Donnarumma, the proverbial heir to Italian goalkeeping royalty not that long ago, has fallen on harder times recently, much like his club AC Milan.
On and off the pitch, the last 12 months have not treated Gigio too kindly, even as he signed a bumper four-year, £40m contract extension with Milan. That deal was surrounded by plenty of drama not just last summer but throughout the season as well, at one point literally reducing the teenager to tears after the supporters turned on him and left no doubt about where their feelings lay regarding the young goalkeeper.
"Now, get out, our patience is at an end!" Milan fans' banner dedicated to Gigio Donnarumma, whose agent is suggesting he was coerced into signing his 4 yr, £40m extension last summer. PSG, Real Madrid + usual suspects on high alert. My @ESPNFC piece: https://t.co/OdnJmYrd9F pic.twitter.com/yekPQlVYq4— Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) December 13, 2017
His form suffered. Meanwhile, his team fell into all sorts of financial disrepair, which have added up to their recent banning from European competition for next season.
But Donnarumma is still just 19 and presumably still quite talented. Accordingly, he retains plenty of value in the transfer market, especially as the likes of Real Madrid, Liverpool, PSG, and probably Chelsea, too, are on the hunt for a big signing at goalkeeper. Transfer records are likely to fall if either of them actually complete a deal, which could include Real Madrid paying upwards of £50m for Thibaut Courtois. But maybe only €35m.
Rumors have returned, stronger than ever, regarding a potential exit for the 26-year-old from Stamford Bridge this summer, so Chelsea are likely exploring alternatives should that come to pass. The Mail adds to these rumors by claiming that Chelsea are “readying” a £65m for Alisson, who’s become the primary target for the Blues.
But reports in Italy, such as this one from Corriere dello Sport, put forth Donnarumma as a slightly cheaper alternative — perhaps not as good as Alisson, but with plenty of room to improve. Corriere even goes as far as to claim that the Blues are first in line for the kid’s signature.
It’s hard to picture Chelsea trusting the club’s fortunes to a 19-year-old, however good he may or may not be, but nothing that’s happened (or not happened, as it were) so far this summer has been predictable. If Courtois does indeed end up leaving and Alisson’s world record price tag proves just a bit too much, Donnarumma could be an interesting option. Certainly more interesting than Jack Butland.