AC Milan’s highly-rated young goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was confronted by supporters last weekend amid uncertainty over his future at the San Siro.
The 22-year-old’s contract is due to expire in June 2021 and, with a Transfermarkt valuation of £54m, AC are facing the real possibility of losing one of their most prized assets for nothing in the summer.
Serie A rivals Juventus have been heavily linked with a move for Donnarumma in recent months, while ESPN claim that Paris Saint-Germain and a handful of Premier League and La Liga clubs are also interested in securing his signature.
With Juventus and AC Milan due to go head-to-head in Serie A on Sunday evening, there is some concern that Donnarumma could be facing a conflict of interest.
AC and Juve, occupying fifth and fourth place in Serie A respectively, are both locked in a tight battle to qualify for the Champions League next season and, on paper, Donnarumma‘s display this evening could represent the difference between success and failure in the bid to reach Europe’s elite knockout competition.
That set of permutations has caused concern amongst AC’s ultras.
According to a report from ESPN, they confronted Donnarumma outside the club’s training ground last Saturday and told him not to play at the Allianz Stadium unless he plans to sign a contract extension.
It was an incident that reportedly left Donnarumma in tears.
Ahead of the summer window, AC’s technical director Paolo Maldini has claimed contract negotiations will be concluded at the end of the season and urged fans to be patient.
“Every single negotiation for renewals is now frozen until the end of the season, to allow the team to focus solely on the league. In the meantime, we will continue to protect our players as we always have.
“The Milan fans, up to now exemplary in supporting the team, must understand that at this moment, the players need serenity and concentration to face the next matches that will be decisive.”
This isn’t the first time that the club’s ultras have got involved over Donnarumma’s future.
Before the Italy international signed his last contract in 2017, the ultras posted a passionate message about his future and expressed their disillusion with Mino Raiola’s involvement.
“We write these lines in spite of ourselves, because we think the situation being created with ‘Donnarumma-gate’ is crazy.
“We’re talking about a phenomenon, but one who is very young and in the hands of an unscrupulous agent, and he finds himself in a situation which is making Milan fans and the club more than a little nervous.
“It’s incredible how a person can do all this by keeping a club like Milan on hold, and partly making an 18-year-old lad go from kissing the badge every Sunday to being an object of discussion.
“The will of the player must have a weight, the will of the club too, it’s not possible for certain characters to have no scruples and to allow certain behaviours, since the main purpose of this mercenary is to find an agreement and insert clauses in his own favour.
“That’s what happened with [Paul] Pogba and Juventus, so he can trouser a lot of money on a future sale.”