AC Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli has hinted that under-fire teenage goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma could possibly be sold in future if the price is right.
Donnarumma quickly established a reputation as one of world football’s most promising young talents after making his debut aged just 16 and Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain both chased his signature last summer before a protracted contract saga ended with the player performing a U-turn and signing a lucrative new four-year deal.
Such an episode caused the 19-year-old’s stock with Milan fans to plummet and tensions have been high once again of late, with the Rossoneri faithful demonstrably unimpressed with his recent under-par performances against Atalanta and particularly in the 4-0 Coppa Italia final defeat to Juventus.
Comments made by agent Mino Raiola and Milan’s reported pursuit of soon-to-be free agent Pepe Reina of Napoli has only served to increase the doubts over Donnarumma’s future at the San Siro and Mirabelli, while eager to shelter Italy’s youngest-ever goalkeeper from criticism, concedes that any current player could be offloaded if their valuation is met.
We must protect Donnarumma and we’ll protect him to the end,’ he told Mediaset Premium.
‘After that, as with all the other players, we’ll see what happens. He is part of the club’s heritage and we wouldn’t let go of him easily, unless of course someone values him the way he must be valued.
‘If a good enough offer arrived, any of our players could be sold. There are far richer clubs out there and we have to choose other paths.
‘Let’s not kid ourselves that we can return to being the Serie A of the past that attracted so many champions. We never will attract them. It’ll be very difficult.’
Addressing Donnarumma’s situation after that heavy defeat to reigning champions Juventus in which the youngster was at fault for goals scored by Douglas Costa and Medhi Benatia, Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso stated that it was ‘up to the club to decide what to do next’.
Another mistake gifted Andrea Masiello a late equaliser in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Atalanta, though did not prevent Milan from securing their place in next season’s Europa League.
They will hope to hold onto sixth place and seal automatic qualification for the group stage of Europe’s secondary club competition next weekend as they entertain Fiorentina on the final day of the season.