Signed in 2017, Gianluigi Donnarumma’s four-year contract will expire next July. His renewal will test the mettle of Milan’s brass over the coming weeks, not for the endurance required, but the terms of agreement. The complex operation will be contested on three fronts: salary, contract duration, whether a release clause is included and by how much. The exclusion of the latter was the one area where Milan scored their lone victory last time out, but elsewhere, team Raiola was decisively ahead on the judges’ score cards. Success for this management will depend on a satisfactory middle ground with as little concession as possible.
Personally, I think Donnarumma will renew and enjoy a hefty increase, but I am intrigued by when the deal is concluded and how the other terms are settled. The hope is that talks do not carry over into a season kicking off on September 17, although, knowing Raiola, it may drag on or be put off until the very last minute. As a team, they do not want that hanging over the their head as that exposes the eroding position of power for the club. One could say this renewal should have wrapped up before Zlatan’s instead of tipping their hand and admitting to needing the Swede more. There is no sugrcoating things if negotiations continue with games underway while the club loses face, or worse, hemorrhages points, time and all leverage. All indication points to a calm atmosphere, and trust in Maldini to pull this one off is now sky high after a dual middle fingers aimed at Tuscany.
Milan have to compromise here, and should just take the hit and make an exception to their company line regarding savings. The club is an unfavorable position where the benchmark is not necessarily a comparable salary but the current deal. At €6 million, the baseline is already steep to negotiate from, although all around, there is a good argument for keeping the base salary, raising it—doubling it even—or just introducing bonuses. Any option from the above is valid for but only within the context of the team’s wage structure and in tandem with contract duration and the exclusion of a release clause.
Something between the leaked figure of €10 million and his current salary should settle things but I am curious if Zlatan’s €7 million is exceeded. That number was not a coincidence, and will be used by Raiola. In turn Milan can argue that Zlatan, being their most important player now, cannot earn less than anyone else. Ultimately, the club must be aware of the slippery slope already established in jumping from €90,000 to €6 million. Curbing inflation would be a huge win but I’ll understand if the agreed figure approaches €8 million.
The four-year contract signed previously will be a yardstick for both sides, except Milan does not want a contract too short to afford them the ability to cash in with a high fee of their choosing. Anything less than four years is a defeat. This is the team’s chance to sell a project, and push for a five-year contract, and, in good faith, allow Giggio an out a year or two down the line.
Quite simply, avoiding a release clause is paramount for Milan as it keeps the ball in their court IF a suitor presents a tempting offer. If there is one, the question of the player’s departure becomes a matter of WHEN. It would be unjustifiable to compromise there, as that plays into Raiola’s hand. He cannot hold all the cards and Milan cannot bet the mortgage on the short-term. And you best believe Raiola has been keeping score since that 2017 saga and is engineering a handsome commission elsewhere just in case.
The fee (I’m not even calling it a clause as that denies Milan a say in this) should be twice the cost of what ever contract he signs next. For example, €12 million gross over four years is €48 million total. Donnarumma should not leave for under €100 million, a number that is double the cost of his current contract, and an amount that, should FFP force Milan into a sale, can singlehandedly swing an entire year’s loss into the black. That should be the basis for Milan’s argument, although with time running out fast, it is not clear what leverage the club has other than goodwill from renewing Ibrahimovic first.
Daddy Fat Stax: Super Agent or Super Villain?
Raiola’s plan appears to be this: back Milan into a corner by inserting the release clause—reportedly, as low as €30 million—on top of huge salary demands. A low fee makes the player’s demands easier to swallow by shifting the savings from the fee to the player and agent. And with the expiration fast approaching, the potential for a generous commission is on Raiola’s mind. It replicates a free agent’s scenario while retaining leverage with the club currently in contract with the player. This is smart and shrewd but should never arrive at the expense of one party in the deal: Milan.
Previously, Raiola exploited Milan’s desperation and got a huge contract and is already ahead. Maldini and Co. know there was no harm in offering a straight extension of the same terms to test the waters. All three parties must equally come to a compromise, and Milan alone cannot be the sole party doing that. But if it is no longer feasible that he is a Milan player for life, Gianluigi Donnarumma must not be allowed to leave for a pittance. Giggio can decide if and when he wants to leave. Raiola specifies the salary demand. Milan get to decide the fee.