In a press gathering immediately following a meeting with agent Mino Raiola, AC Milan sporting director Marco Fassone announced that 18-year-old wonderkid Gianluigi Donnarumma will not extend his contract with the club.
Donnarumma has made a definitive decision not to renew the contract with Milan. It is a definitive decision, made by the player.
We were taken by surprise, as we had confidently hoped Donnarumma would be the goalkeeper taking Milan into the future that we could build the team around. We trust that we can do our best. Naturally, the decision leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, but now we have to go forward and Milan go forward.
Donnarumma made his debut for Milan at just 16 years old, and has since become one of the best goalkeepers in Serie A, and one of the hottest prospects in world football. Donnarumma made more saves than any other goalkeeper in Serie A (147), and kept 12 clean sheets for Milan, helping them to a sixth-placed finish in the league.
This is the first summer of new ownership at Milan and the club started the transfer window with a bang, adding Franck Kessie, Ricardo Rodriguez, Mateo Musacchio and Andre Silva. With things looking extremely bright on the red half of Milan, the Donnarumma news will come as a huge blow as they look to return to the pinnacle of Italian soccer.
Donnarumma is considered the heir to Gianluigi Buffon, and will likely be Italy's No. 1 for the next two decades following Buffon's retirement. A self-proclaimed Milan fan, the youngster had previously stated his desire to stay at the club due to his love for the Rossoneri.
The Italian international's contract expires in the summer of 2018, meaning Milan will likely have to sell the brightest young talent they've had in years to avoid losing him for free in a year's time. He's reportedly the subject of interest from Paris Saint-Germain, while Real Madrid are also thought to be interested in his services as well.
Despite his contract expiring in 2018, Milan will likely be able to demand a significant fee for Donnarumma's services, but replacing him will be a difficult prospect. They could turn to another young keeper in the ranks, with 17-year-old Alessandro Plizzari shining for Italy in the Under-20 World Cup, but it's likely they'll dip into the transfer market to replace Donnarumma. Napoli's Pepe Reina is likely on his way out of the club following a disagreement with the club president, while Juventus backup Norberto Neto is also a possibility, with the Bianconeri poised to bring in Roma's Wojciech Szczesny in his place. Either way, it's a hammer blow for Milan, especially considering how brightly their summer started.