Why Gianluigi Donnarumma should sign the Devil’s Contract! Within months since his introduction to top-tier football, AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was already being considered as the heir apparent to Gianluigi Buffon’s Azzurri throne, a goal that was so comprehensively guarded for two decades. The No.1 jersey for the Azzurri has now for long enjoyed extravagant goalkeeping, reliability, identity, stability and most importantly longevity.
On 25th October 2015, AC Milan replaced veteran keeper Diego Lopez with a freakishly imposing 6’5″, massively talented 16-year-old shot-stopper who roamed around his box as if he owned it, and performed as if he had Gigi Buffon’s experience under his belt. 70 appearances with 23 clean sheets already for the Milanese giant, Donnarumma’s size, strength and ability showcases much larger experience than the age listens in is newly acquired driving license.
It should be fair to say that Vincenzo Montella’s side needed every single one of his 147 saves to clinch a UEFA league spot for Milan. A club of Milan’s stature and size does not always consider a teenager as their most prized asset, but it is the case that they are regrettably facing with Donnarumma.
Under contract for one more season until June 2018, Donnarumma (with the brain of agent Mino Raiola), has so far refused to sign a contract extension thereby enraging the Milan hierarchy and fans.
As we await the players answer to sign an extension with Milan or move on to new pastures, it is worth shedding a ray of light to the factors that could impact the decision of the 18-year-old.
Although Donnaruma has evolved at a lightning pace, by no means is his craft as polished and pristine as many fans and pundits assume it to be. Distribution and footwork are some notable highlights of his deficiencies. Though both can be polished and brushed up to be near perfect with time, but a big money move, and getting to be known as one of the top paid goalkeepers of the world, would not be suited to the term “kid with gloves”, should he commit mistakes as a result of his rawness.
Assuming Donnarumma and Raiola accept the Rossoneri’s latest contract offer, the teenager would be the third highest paid Goal-Keeper in Europe surpassing Thibaut Courtois’ 4.1 million Euro package, only to be behind Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer (9 million Euros) and Manchester United’s David De Gea (6.8 million Euros).
With lucrative wages comes the pressure of performing at a world- class level with high levels of consistency. At Milan, one would assume that the tension to meet expected performance levels would be a lot looser and he would get away with a few loose performance. But the same loose performances would come under immense criticism if it occurs at any other club outside AC Milan.
Donnarumma told GQ Italia, “I am calm, all the parties involved know the decision I’ve made. I’m very much tied to these colours. I’m looking for a house in the city to live with my family. Everyone knows that my wish is to stay at Milan.”
Here comes in the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words”. One of AC Milan’s famous names is II Diavolo (The Devil). Will the 18-year-old Donnarumma shake hands with the devil and commit to AC Milan or will the chance of having fuller and wealthier pockets tempt him to move abroad? All Milanisti would be hoping that loyalty prevails.