On Wednesday, Gianluigi Donnarumma was reduced to tears during halftime of AC Milan’s match with Hellas Verona in the Coppa Italia. A section of Milan fans at the San Siro had boo’d and whistled when his name was announced in the formation, and had a tifo in front of them which translates to, "moral violence, 6 million per year and your parasite brother? Now go away, the patience is over."
This comes on the heels of more rumors surrounding the talented goalkeeper about his future. There are some reports that he wants to leave, with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain just waiting to splash some cash on him. It’s important to note that these reports are completely unconfirmed.
It’s also important to note the following: Mino Raiola is Donnarumma’s agent, and when Gigio signed his new contract over the summer, there was no release clause. That has been confirmed. So as Gigio’s agent, Raiola has essentially no leverage now. He has one of the brightest young talents in the world, but Raiola’s job is to make money. He would get more money from a big move than he would from day-to-day contracts. So in the case of Donnarumma, Raiola is doing what he can, and what he has done in the past, to get some leverage on his behalf: get the rumor mill started.
Raiola is one of, if not the most, famous agent in football. He has connections all over the planet. It would not be difficult for him to call someone up and say that PSG wanted Donnarumma to start the reports and get some division started.
That sounds very much like what is going on now. With reports that he may leave, right after we did this whole dance in the summer, fans are starting to be sick of the manipulation of Raiola and the refusal of Gigio to fire Raiola. I’ve seen some say that Milan should go ahead and sell high on Donnarumma so that the drama is over.
While at this point Gigio may not be unsellable, I think it’s notable that this happens because Raiola is his agent. When Andre Silva moved to Milan, that was one of the most quiet big moves I have seen, and both Jorge Mendes and Massimiliano Mirabelli praised the other for their professionalism. Raiola goes another way, and right now, the frustration of the fans, while understandable, is playing right into Raiola’s hand when taken out on the young keeper.
Booing him and making a tifo about him are things that can make an 18-year-old kid who wants to stay at the club leave. He has said he loves Milan. He has said he does not want to leave. He has expressed how committed he is. But now he has been insulted by his own fans, and that is not doing to bode well in the future if we want him to stay here. While he makes tons of money and is a huge part of the team, remember he is still just 18. He’s a professional, but he’s still a kid.
Both Mirabelli and Gattuso spoke after the match defending Donnaumma, and Mirabelli had more pointed comments that essentially took on Raiola, setting up round two from this summer. Gattuso said he will defend the player and that the fans should not go after him, while Mirabelli said he is under contract and that he has never said he wants to leave. He also said if a club wants to buy him, they have to meet Milan’s demands. This is right in line with how Mirabelli handled the summer. I have confidence in the manager in this situation, and I have confidence that Mirabelli will do the right thing for the club and player. But now, I’m having less confidence in the player after what a minority of fans did.
Donnarumma doesn’t like this stuff either. He wants to get out there and play, not have rumors of him leaving and his own fans mad. He has never said negatively about Milan.. Now, he may be having second thoughts, because fans were baited into the tactics of a super-agent. Hopefully I am wrong, and Gigio ditches Raiola or makes a public statement himself to put it to bed once and for all, but this is a saga that refuses to end, which is unfortunate.