Why Milan must secure long-term future of key figure amid contract doubts

In June 2017, a press conference was held by then CEO Marco Fassone as he announced that Gianluigi Donnarumma wouldn’t be renewing his contract with Milan.

That decision sparked a series of events which centred around an angry backlash from many supporters, with the young goalkeeper, who was still only 18 at that point, coming under intense scrutiny and criticism.

SEE MORE: Five big decisions Milan face this summer from top to bottom of club

Eventually, Donnarumma did put pen to paper to extend his deal and in the time that has passed since, he has repaired the damage done to his relationship with many of those fans and has continued to establish himself as a key figure in the side as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe.

Still only 21 years of age, he’s already made 190 appearances for Milan and the hope remains that he will go on to make many, many more in the years to come.

Doubts over Donnarumma future

Unfortunately, we may be heading towards another summer of uncertainty as with his current deal set to expire in 2021, the Rossoneri can ill-afford to allow him to enter the final 12 months of his contract as the threat of losing him for next to nothing will become a bigger issue.

As per La Gazzetta dello Sport, it has been suggested that Milan could be preparing to sell already, with replacements even being touted to give the impression that we should resign ourselves to losing him.

If a new agreement isn’t reached in the coming months, sadly that could materialise as we can’t let such a huge talent and valuable player leave on the cheap next January or in a worst-case scenario, on a free transfer next summer.

Milan have to act, and even if there is an acceptance from either party that Donnarumma will be leaving, it’s in our best interests to sign him to a new long-term deal and strengthen our position when it comes to demanding a significant offer to green light an exit.

Ideally, Gigio will stay and commit his long-term future

Although he’s still susceptible to making the odd mistake, Donnarumma’s quality, consistency and maturity have made him integral to our future plans as he has made decisive saves on countless occasions.

He’s been with us since he was 14, he has become a face of the club in many ways and plays a vital role in our marketability and appeal off the pitch as it would be hard to find many football fans who aren’t aware of him.

There are far too many reasons and positives behind wanting him to stay. It really would be a bitterly tough blow to see him move on if an exit materialises this summer as we’d be losing a key pillar of our future and brand, while it sets the wrong tone at the club if the best players in the squad start to be sold.

While no player is bigger than the club, Milan have also let Donnarumma down. These are ambitious players who want to play at the highest level, and we have consistently failed to put the pieces in place to ensure that we’ve delivered our end of the bargain.

The Italian international still has plenty of time on his side to play in the Champions League and win major trophies, but if Milan can’t provide the right vision for him and convince him that he should remain patient and stay with us for the long haul, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep hold of him.

What next?

There will no doubt be importance placed on his price-tag too in terms of what that could do to boost the club’s financial position and perhaps offer additional funds to be invested back into the squad.

Ultimately at this stage, there is still so much uncertainty surrounding the situation, but as reflected in the MilanTalk poll on Twitter below, of the 113 voters, 57% chose Donnarumma signing a new deal and staying as the most likely outcome.

27% believe that he will be sold this summer, while the remaining 16% think that he may sign a new deal and that in turn will allow Milan to demand a fair price for him which would be considerably higher than if he just had 12 months left to run.

Time will tell how the situation plays out, but his importance on and off the pitch coupled with what it means to come through the ranks and establish yourself at senior level to be regarded as one of the best in your position, it’s hoped we’re spared another summer saga like that seen in 2017.

Instead, it would be great to see Donnarumma choose to commit his long-term future with the two parties capable of reaching an agreement with minimal fuss, and we can plan around him rather than having to identify and sign a replacement.