Luca Bruno/Associated Press
AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma received death threats while holding talks with his club over a new contract, according to his agent Mino Raiola.
According to the Mirror‘s Jack Rathborn, Donnarumma turned down an offer of a €5 million yearly salary, but Raiola opened up on the situation and said the talks never reached that stage. He told Sky Sport Italia, Mediaset Premium and Rai Sport (h/t ESPN.co.uk):
“We took a decision that we didn’t want to take. It was nothing to do with money. We were threatened. Donnarumma’s family was threatened, both with not playing anymore and threatened with death. You can’t keep a player by threatening him.
“Now there is a genuine risk he could miss a year. His quality makes that improbable, but this is already on the verge of bullying.
“We never even got to talk about money or release clauses, because we were not allowed to get that far, nor to think of what was best for Gigio. He was ready to sign a new contract, there were no doubts in his mind. They forced us to abandon the negotiations because of the environment created around him.”
The 18-year-old has one year remaining on his deal at the San Siro, and with his refusal to sign a new contract, he appears likely to leave this summer.
Raiola continued: “I take the responsibility. They forced us. It was Milan that lost Donnarumma. He said to me, ‘honestly, Mino, I don’t feel it is right to carry on negotiations when these people are insulting and threatening me and my family.’
“For example, there was a banner in front of the club headquarters. A club should protect its players and remove the banner. A club should support a player and encourage his career, not threaten him with having to be left in the stands.”
Rossoneri fans showed their displeasure with the ‘keeper during Sunday’s under-21 match between Italy and Sweden by throwing fake dollar bills at him, per Squawka News:
Squawka News @SquawkaNews
Play was briefly halted during Italy U21’s game against Denmark as fans threw fake dollars at Gianluigi Donnarumma. 💵 https://t.co/bryk1gdCuW
Indeed, his apparent rejection of a generous offer from his boyhood club has created the perception among fans that he and Raiola are motivated purely by the pursuit of an even more lucrative deal elsewhere:
The situation at Milan appears to be untenable, and the club would lose him for free next summer were he to see out his final year, but sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli is adamant he won’t be allowed to leave.
He told Sportitalia (h/t ESPN.co.uk) “Donnarumma is a great champion, a great guy and a Milan player. For this next season, he will certainly play with us still.”
However, Mirabelli added that whether the stopper plays or is restricted to the bench will be left in the hands of manager Vincenzo Montella.
Despite Donnarumma’s exceptional talent, keeping him for one more year would appear to be a strange decision unless the club harbour hopes of agreeing a deal with him during that time.
It’s clear he would not be welcomed back to the team with open arms by many supporters, and while his value may have fallen slightly by virtue of having just one year left on his deal, Milan could still negotiate a hefty transfer fee this summer.
If the Serie A side do allow him to leave, Raiola made clear that he has not been in contact with any other clubs and as such “there will be no rapid transfer.”