Leno is just one of the many candidates poised to replace Donnarumma next year. Image: Getty

Donnarumma officially announced that he would not be renewing his contract yesterday. This decision was not taken lightly by the fans, who have since heckled the young keeper, going so far as to send him death threats. However, Milan seem to have their eyes on three targets for that goalkeeper spot. Let’s see which one is the best for Milan.

Neto

Neto is probably the least interesting player of the bunch. Juventus are asking €10 million for the keeper, a fee which I personally think is way too high for a player of his caliber. Neto only played eight games this season, and while six of those may have been clean sheets, we have to take into account that many of those games were against poor sides where Juventus knew they could rest Buffon, and we can’t forget that Juventus defense either.

Neto is by no means a bad player; he’s just not a great one. If Milan want to rebuild, I think that they can find much better options out there for that price.

Mattia Perin

Perhaps the most promising of all, or perhaps joint-first with Leno is Mattia Perin. The Italian shotstopper has already developed into a phenomenal keeper, and at only 24 years of age, he looks to have a very bright future ahead of him. His one-on-one skills are phenomenal, and he is certainly a world-class talent. Behind a very weak Genoa defense, he conceded 19 goals in 16 appearances this season, posting an impressive seven clean sheets on the way there. He’s also rumored to cost around €15 million, a small fee considering how good he could be.

If he’s so good, why don’t Milan pick him up right now, you may ask. Short answer. He’s an injury machine. Name an injury, and chances are that this guy has suffered from it. Perin played less than half the season due to an ACL rupture this year, and this isn’t the first time he’s missed an extensive period time due to injury. If Milan do end up signing him, they’ll be getting one of the best talents in the world. They’ll just have to be wary of his history.

Bernd Leno

At around €20 million, Leno is the most pricey of the bunch. That being said, he is also the most proven. Leno has been a starter for Leverkusen for quite some time now. He’s solid in goal, and he has all the qualities needed to become a world-class goalkeeper. His stats may not be so impressive — 55 goals conceded in 34 appearances — but if you watch him play, he makes plenty of incredible saves; it’s just that Leverkusen’s defense isn’t exactly great, to say the least.

He’s the priciest, but he would also be the most reliable. It all comes down to who Montella wants in his side and what Mirabelli and Fassone can do.

Alessandro Plizzari

By far the most interesting of the four, Milan could place their trust in 16 year old, Plizzari. While he probably won’t rise to the occasion like Donnarumma did, the youngster has shown great poise and leadership in goal, including an impressive performance in the U-20 World cup where he saved two penalties against Uruguay to lead Italy to a third place finish.

This kid is bursting with potential, but Milan have to be cautious with how they play it. However much Milan fans may hate to admit it now, Donnarumma is no ordinary keeper. How well he handled the enormous pressure placed on him at such a young age to become one of the best keepers in the world is no small feat. We can’t just expect Plizzari to do the same. I think that we should give Plizzari a couple more years to grow; when he’s given the chance, I’m sure he’ll take it.

 

At the end of the day, Milan have plenty of good picks to choose from. In my opinion, Neto is a bit underwhelming, and Plizzari should still be given some time to develop. If I had to choose between Perin and Leno, I’d have to go with Leno. Perin is simply too much of a liability at this point. Leno will provide a solid, reliable force between the sticks, and Milan would be set in goal for quite some time.


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