Is Donnarumma what we really need?

By TGP, 7 June 2021

I see a lot of people are desperate for the club to sign Donnarumma. Almost as if it would be an insult to the fans and our history if this were not to happen and we would ‘lose’ this apparently gilded opportunity. Which is not at all how I not just feel, but think of the matter…

Perin had the highest save percentage of all goalkeepers in Serie A last season (of those playing at least 25 games) when playing in a much weaker side than AC Milan. Donnarumma comes in at a very respectable 7th in one of the pivotal rankings for judging those brave souls, the last man standing when the onslaught has cut through all others. Yet there are plenty of other areas of the craft to consider. Positioning, anticipation, agility, aerial prowess, punching, kicking, command of the defenders etc…and yet all of them come together for the most crucial skill which is saving shots on goal.

Pleasing to see Audero improving season upon season. A player who spent a decade at Juve and has represented Italy at every level from U15 to U21. I like his command of the box, power and agility. Also has superb reflexes. Another one I would rather we had retained some option to purchase, yet it often takes time for keepers to develop, unless they are given the chance to develop at senior level…

Tek is one of the best around. And has proven incredibly consistent for Juve. I would have had him as my player of the year last season, such was his complete absence of any glaring areas and many top class saves, but I preferred Bentancur, another who far too may seem eager to see leave. Despite being just 23, immensely experienced, a mainstay in one of the top national sides of the planet, asked to play different roles by three different managers ( at juve) in the past 3 seasons….and now I find many eager to swap him with Saul. A player whose main skills seem tackling and tenacity, which Rodrigo has in spades and more to develop of his game going forward as we saw under Sarri. And who remains, to my reckoning, the most close to complete midfielder in our squad.

Donnarumma has no loyalty, why would you think he could become part of an italian backbone at Juve? He has loyalty to Raiola alone. He would have become the 4th best paid keeper on the planet, at 22 years of age, playing for his boyhood club where has has grown and developed and found fame, in the CL…He is a mercenary, nothing less, with zero loyalty.

Also, I dont think Donnarumma is near the best of his craft, for plenty of keepers are consistently more reliable and outstanding than him, even in Serie A – Tek, Perin, Handanovic…I would also prefer Audero. Outside of Italy are found ever stronger keepers – Allison, Ederson, ter Stegen, Mendy. Yes, Donnarumma is young, and established at a decent side at a young age, but not talked of as one of the best keepers on the planet. Perhaps he will become so in due course.

I fear too many get a little carried away with the hype. The top sides in the world are not all eagerly vying for his signature…for obvious reasons. If 8-10m per season is not enough and Raiola and the player want an extra 20-30m signing on fee, as well as a free ride for more millions for his brother to keep him company then I hope they go to Paris.

We need players of a more collective focused mentality who can buy in to a shared cause, not mercenaries led solely by personal gain. And I suspect the reported 8-10m per season offered by AC would be enough to keep his family well fed and clothed for decades and generations to come.

Clearly he is a high level player. I do not doubt his ability and I of course enjoy the idea of Juve having more of the players of La Nazionale in the ranks, as we have historically provided the rearguard and beyond of the national side. My opposition to the move is rooted in the financial aspects and mentality of the player.

I harp back to the piece I wrote over the weekend. Which included some reference to the players signed in 1995. Lippi and Moggi created a team of extremely hard working, high level players, who came in and gave their everything to the cause.

Why can we not return to this model?

Add to all of this the fact that the majority of supporters have long felt that we need to improve first and foremost the midfield. We will also have to do some juggling in attack, where Dybala is not certain to stay, not yet either Morata, and certainly not Ronaldo. Upgrading the midfield and whatever happens with the front line will cost 10s of millions. And yet we are apparently in need of making capital gains of 100m before the end of June to balance the books. I would also add in the need to renovate both fullback positions. All of this before I would consider the goalkeeper, with Tek on big wages, a long contract and far from anywhere near the central focus of the common concerns of our squad.

The nut of the matter is that I very much hope we do not waste many millions on downgrading a highly competent keeper to bring in Donnarumma to the detriment of improving other areas of the squad.