WITH Pepe Reina joining AC Milan on a free transfer in the summer, it can only mean Gianluigi Donnarumma is leaving the Rossoneri.
Both men are at opposite ends of their careers and neither would accept playing second fiddle to the other.
Donnarumma, now 19, will surely leave and that could spark the goalkeeping merry-go-round which has been bubbling over the past few years.
Unlike last summer, the Italy international leaving is something Milan may actually welcome.
In 2017, they had to lock him down to a new contract in order to prove they were serious. Their new owners promised to bring success back to the club and losing their best player would have lose them serious reliability.
However, this time around, they are likely to need to sell a prize asset due to last summer’s spending and someone they would deem replaceable would be the ideal candidate.
Now, while Donnarumma may be the best teenage player on the planet, goalkeeper is a position Milan have historically not really valued.
Giovanni Galli, Sebastiano Rossi and Christian Abbiati — who their men between the sticks from the mid 1980s to the early 2000s — were never international regulars.
Instead, they have always ensured they have the best defenders around, meaning a world class goalkeeper has never been a necessity.
With Leonardo Bonucci and the emerging Alessio Romagnoli, they have the backline covered, the experienced Reina would be will protected.
Further more, the club’s relationship with Mino Raiola is rocky at best and they would be happy to get of their last remaining client of his.
Donnarumma is going. But to where?
The obvious answer appeared Juventus, but they opted for Wojciech Szczesny, who has proved a more than able replacement for Gianluigi Buffon with his performances so far.
Despite reports to the contrary, it has been confirmed Donnarumma does NOT have a release clause, though Champions League qualification would put Milan in a much strong negotiating position.
Paris Saint-Germain, who will want a more balanced transfer window this summer after top heavy spending in 2017 are in the market for a new goalkeeper.
Alphonse Areola has done little wrong, merely he isn’t a marketable enough name.
Donnarumma is one of their top targets, along with Atletico Madrid’s current No 1 Jan Oblak.
Should they go for the Slovenian international, then the Rojiblancos could become a serious option for the Italian.
David De Gea made his Atletico debut at the age of 18 and a year later, started the Europa League final. After he left for Old Traffor, his replacement was 20-year-old Thibaut Courtois — so there will be absolutely no concerns over Donnarumma’s age.
It used to be said that goalkeepers only came into their prime at in their 30s, but that perception has now changed.
Petr Cech became Chelsea’s No 1 at the age of 22 in 2004, and conceded just 15 Premier League goals in his debut campaign.
Manchester United started De Gea at 20 and now the average age of top level goalkeepers is decreasing.
At 19, Donnarumma has nearly three full seasons in one of Europe’s biggest leagues and will harbour ambitions of playing for the next 20 years.
Courtois is a target for Real Madrid, who want a replacement for Keylor Navas, and that would mean Chelsea need a new No 1 goalkeeper.
But, if the Blues keep hold of the Belgian, Los Blancos may move for Donnarumma.
The availability of Donnarumma will force club’s hands when it comes to dispensing with their goalkeepers.
Not inserting a release clause into the Italian’s contract is looking more and more like a very shrewd move by Milan.
It means they are likely to recoup way over market value for a player in a position they don’t value.