Manchester United could land their ideal replacement for David de Gea this summer in AC Milan starlet Gianluigi Donnarumma.
What’s the story?
The San Siro outfit’s technical director Paolo Maldini confirmed that the 6 ft 5 goalkeeper will depart his boyhood club this summer as a free agent when his contract expires on June 30.
“He was a protagonist, a leader and often a captain,” Maldini said of the youngster during an interview on the official AC Milan Twitch channel.
“A professional must also be ready to change his shirt. It is increasingly difficult to start a career in one place and finish it there. We must thank those who gave so much for Milan, and Gigio did it without ever disrespecting the club. Our paths divide here, and I can only wish him the best.”
Donnarumma made his first-team debut aged just 16 and went on to make 251 appearances for the Rossoneri, keeping 88 clean sheets in the process.
Woodward must swoop
The Italy international’s imminent exit is likely to attract the attention of a host of Europe’s top teams, with The Sun claiming United, Chelsea, Barcelona and Juventus are all interested in the 22-year-old’s signature.
Donnarumma’s long been tipped for greatness and got the ultimate seal of approval back in 2018 when legendary shot-stopper Gianluigi Buffon claimed that his national team understudy could follow in his footsteps.
“A goalkeeper to follow me? At the moment, the most interesting is Donnarumma,” the Juventus keeper told Copa90 (via FourFourTwo).
“At a European level, he’s the youngest, and it’s normal that there’s curiosity surrounding him. He’s a lad with extraordinary skills.”
Since then, Donnarumma’s meteoric rise has only gathered pace. He helped Milan to a second-place finish in Serie A this season, their best performance since 2011/12, following several off-field issues.
But now, the former wonderkid is ready to embark on a new chapter in his career and Ed Woodward must do everything in his power to ensure that Old Trafford is the Italian’s destination of choice.
David de Gea has been in decline ever since a disastrous 2018 World Cup with Spain, while Dean Henderson has failed to prove his first-choice credentials this season.
The England international impressed during a two-year loan spell with Sheffield United, but upon his return to the Red Devils, his frailties have been ruthlessly exposed.
A mistake against Milan in the Europa League last-16 was punished by Simon Kjaer’s injury-time header before a shocking display against Liverpool saw Henderson dropped to the bench.
If United wan to reel in Manchester City and claim their first Premier League title in eight years, then a new ‘keeper is going to be required going into 2021/22, and the opportunity to pick up Donnarumma on a free transfer is an opportunity United can’t afford to miss out on.