Chelsea handed boost in race to complete Gianluigi Donnarumma free transfer

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Chelsea have been handed a major boost in the race to sign Gianluigi Donnarumma on a free transfer. The Italian keeper is out of contract at AC Milan at the end of June and looks set to move on from the Serie A club.

Donnarumma has been Milan’s number one goalkeeper since 2015, developing into one of best shot-stoppers in football.

He has also established himself in the Italian national team, taking over from Gianluigi Buffon for Roberto Mancini’s side.

But despite helping the Rossoneri to a second-place finish in Serie A this season, it is becoming increasingly likely that Donnarumma will depart at the expiration of his current deal.

Milan made a last-ditch attempt to convince him to stay at the San Siro, reportedly offering wages worth €8m-a-year (£7m-a-year).

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But those terms did not meet the demands of agent Mino Raiola, who is believed to want €10m-a-year (£8.6m-a-year) for his client as well as commission of around €20m (£17.2m).

With a deal looking less likely, Milan have now acted to secure a long-term quality option in the position.

Transfer inside Fabrizio Romano reports that Milan are on the verge of completing a £13million deal with Lille for keeper Mike Maignan.

Maignan has kept 23 clean sheets this season, the most of any goalkeeper playing in the top-five European leagues.

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That has helped Lille to complete a stunning league title win, seeing off giants PSG to lift their first Ligue 1 trophy for 10 years.

The 25-year-old has been a key part of that success, with Christophe Galtier’s side having the best defensive record in the division.

Maignan’s arrival in Italy appears to spell the end of Donnarumma’s time at AC Milan, with the French keeper unlikely to be happy to have a back-up role after winning a league title.

It is a development that should interest Chelsea, who have long eyed Donnarumma as a potential target.

While Edouard Mendy has mostly impressed in his debut season at Stamford Bridge, there do still remain question marks over whether he is a long-term solution to the problem position.

In fact, boss Thomas Tuchel has taken to alternating between Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga, with the latter starting the FA Cup final against Leicester.

Despite having two solid options though, it would be no surprise to see the Blues attempt to bring Donnarumma to the Premier League.

It is rare that such a high-quality player becomes available as a free agent, with Chelsea’s long-term interest putting them in pole position among Donnarumma’s potential English suitors.
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