Considering his wife once described England’s second most populous urban area as ‘uglier than the back of a fridge’, it’s no surprise to see Manchester United’s Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea once again linked with a move to Real Madrid.
Argentina’s World Cup stopper Sergio Romero is untrusted beyond cup appearances at Old Trafford, so the Red Devils look certain to splash out big on a De Gea replacement should the 25-year-old scarper this summer.
Rumourville suggests AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma could be the man to fill those big gloves.
Dubbed ‘the new Gianluigi Buffon’, Donnarumma made his Rossoneri debut at the end of October and hasn’t missed a Serie A match since, with former number one Diego Lopez banished to the bench by gaffer Sinisa Mihajlovic.
Milan have lost just three of their 22 matches in the Italian top-flight with the youngster in goal, after suffering defeats in four of their first eight games of the campaign, with the 6ft5in Neapolitan keeper’s presence helping his side to eight clean sheets along the way.
Oh, we forgot to mention that Donnarumma only turned 17 in February. That’s right. 17.
Even De Gea didn’t make his senior debut for hometown club Atletico Madrid until just short of his 19th birthday, and while his superb shot-stopping and distribution will be impossible to replicate, Donnarumma has height and weight advantage over the La Seleccion netminder, a distinct plus in the physical Premier League.
A ‘who’s who’ of Italy’s finest keepers has been lining up to praise Donnarumma since his debut, with Buffon proclaiming his heir apparent to the Azzurri number one jersey ‘definitely a top goalkeeper…to be 16-years-old and able to handle that kind of media pressure is important and rare.’
World Cup-winning captain Dino Zoff, who lifted the famous golden globe in 1982, has also weighed in, proclaiming ‘Donnarumma has great qualities which allow him to play in Serie A at 16…he seems to be predestined to become a great goalkeeper, and it all depends completely on him.’
Gambling £20m on the 20-year-old De Gea paid off spectacularly in 2011. Donnarumma would likely cost more, if Milan are willing to sell, but with United potentially in need of another bright young custodian between the sticks, expect them to try.