Gianluigi Donnarumma's emergence into the first team at AC Milan has assured Italy fans that he is the fitting long-term replacement for his namesake between the sticks for the national team.
Gianluigi Buffon's illustrious career may be nearing its end sometime in the future, but it's just the start of what is expected to be a very bright future for Donnarumma, who made his AC Milan debut aged 16 years and 242 days back in October 2015.
Italy have an admirable ability in bringing through top-class goalkeeping talent, and 18-year-old Donnarumma is the next in line to Buffon's throne.
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So much so that the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Juventus have already been keeping tabs on the youngster who has less than two years' experience in senior football.
But for all the hype surrounding the AC Milan youngster, it has come at the cost of the San Siro outfit who are now struggling to tie down the teenager to a new deal, with just one season remaining on his current contract.
Rossoneri boss Vincenzo Montella admitted that the club are doing everything within their power to extend Donnarumma's current deal.
Milan send Donnarumma warning
“The club are making enormous efforts to ensure his outstanding quality is recognised," Montella revealed, per The Sun.
“I love him like a son, but now he needs to make a decision and realise what he wants to do as a grown-up.
“But he must do this with the utmost serenity because the club is doing all they can to keep hold of him.”
And according to Gazzetta dello Sport, AC Milan are prepared to bench Donnarumma next season, should he fail to agree fresh terms with the club who gave him his senior breakthrough against Sassuolo 19 months ago.
Football can change very quickly and a new deal hasn't been completely written off, although super agent Mino Raiola is in charge of negotiating a new contract - having overseen Paul Pogba's world-record £89 million move to Manchester United last summer.
European giants tracking teenager
And it is the Red Devils who could stop the 18-year-old from being sidelined next campaign - having shown an interest in the Italian, with first-choice 'keeper David de Gea being mooted with a big-money move to Real Madrid.
Los Blancos, themselves, could make a move for the teenager - although a move for a more senior 'keeper is most likely during the summer transfer window.
Meanwhile, City are after a new goalkeeper with second-choice Willy Caballero having left the Etihad, while rivals Juve could swoop for the Donnarumma, who has been in a contract stand-off for months.
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