Manchester United are competing with Chelsea to sign goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, according to reports.
The Italian is widely regarded as one of the world’s best goalkeepers and is set to leave AC Milan on a free transfer after the Rossoneri’s sporting director Paolo Maldini confirmed that an agreement had not been reached to extend his contract.
United for their part could be on the lookout for a new keeper after a season in which neither David de Gea nor Dean Henderson appears to have succeeded in convincing manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he should be given the gloves next season.
It had seemed that Henderson had won Solskjaer’s confidence after an extended run in the Premier League, but a good display from the Spaniard despite conceding three goals against Roma in the Europa League semi-final was enough to swing the manager the other way and he was handed the job for yesterday’s final.
And whilst De Gea made no errors as such, his inability to save a single penalty out of 11 – which increases his run of failures to 36 – is casting new doubt on his ability to regain the form of four or five years ago.
Donnarumma, meanwhile, despite being only 22 years of age, already has an incredible amount of experience. He made his debut for Milan in the 2015/16 season, shortly before De Gea’s last penalty save, and has already played 251 times for Milan and 25 times for the Italian national side.
‘The Spain international lost his spot to backup keeper Dean Henderson at times during the 2020-21 season, before failing to score the crucial penalty in United’s 11-10 Europa League final loss on penalties to Villarreal on Wednesday.’
According to AS, the main reason that Donnarumma could not agree a new contract with Milan was the ‘stratospheric’ fee of €20 million that was being demanded by his agent, Mino Raiola, for his part in negotiating the new contract.
United will be wary of dealing with Raiola again but an opportunity to sign one of the world’s best on a free contract is not one that John Murtough and company should pass up without first giving it serious consideration.
If Donnarumma were to sign for United, it could clear the path for De Gea to move back to Spain to spend more time with his wife, Edurne and their new baby daughter.
What it would mean for Henderson, on the other hand, is much less certain.