PSG do not easily lose their Ligue 1 crown, right?
We are not two months from the day Lille ended its long-standing dominance of French football, but the core of Les Parisien’s team is almost unrecognizable.
In Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi, they have added quality and title-winning pedigree across the board. And they have done so for about the cost of your monthly grocery store – Hakimi is the only new signing they have spent a penny on so far.
Undoubtedly the highlight of their basket jumping is the arrival of Gianluigi Donnarumma from AC Milan.
It’s finally official!
Gianluigi Donnarumma has been announced as a PSG player. ✍️
– 90min (@ 90min_Football) July 14, 2021
It’s hard to quantify how ridiculously good a signing he is. He is up there with Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland as the very best of their generation. He was Milan’s captain at 21 years old. He was the best goalkeeper in Serie A last season and the best player in Euro 2020.
They have signed him for free.
Donnarumma is already one of the top goalkeepers in world football, up there with Alisson, Ederson and Jan Oblak, and he will be at the top of his game for at least another 15 years. Provided they keep him, PSG have basically ensured that they will not have to splash out on a goalkeeper until 2036, perhaps even beyond that if he follows the Gianluigi Buffon trend to record in the 40s.
Comparisons with Buffon, himself a former PSG goalkeeper, are inevitable, but Donnarumma stands up positively to the best goalkeeper of all time.
By the time Buffon was 22, he had just established himself as Parma’s first manager. He had fewer than ten international caps under his belt, but even that was pretty formidable for a goalkeeper at that age.
Donnarumma has played more than 250 times for Milan, been captain for them 24 times and won the Euro as Italy’s starting guard.
?? Tournament player Gianluigi Donnarumma who inspires Italy to EURO glory! ? @azzurri | # EURO2020 | #ITA pic.twitter.com/3sZgFWNI08
– UEFA EURO 2020 (@ EURO2020) 11 July 2021
Again: free transfer.
Goalkeepers do not tend to peak until the early 30s, which means that Donnarumma has another decade before he produces his best football. But he already plays at a level that most animal keepers never reach.
His record of penalties, for one, is freakish. The average savings percentage for a lethal keeper is 15-20%. After his three saves from the place in Euro, Donnarumma sits at 34%.
Of all the penalties he has faced, including the fatal Bukayo Saka miss that won Italy the European Championship, less than half have resulted in goals.
Here we thought that Donnarumma was just as cool as possible! ? pic.twitter.com/Pqkpdw1zC7
– 90min (@ 90min_Football) July 13, 2021
Far from just a penalty specialist, however, Donnarumma stands out like this in practically all dimensions. His almighty presence and command between the sticks led to 88 goals for Milan and scored goals at a rate of just over one goal per game.
Given that he played behind a fairly average defense for the most part – never finished higher than fifth until his final season at the San Siro – those numbers gave a very favorable reflection.
Almost every signing now carries a risk. Even the free transfers of Wijnaldum and Ramos, each wrong side of 30 and commanding formidable salaries, can prove to be mistakes if not handled carefully by Mauricio Pochettino.
A team that has pride A team that bleeds passion A team that aims for perfection
It’s time to fight and win! #AllezParis ?? # WeAreParis #ICICESTPARIS #PSG #ParisSaintGermain #Paris pic.twitter.com/nWsUGBgQuQ
– Gianluigi Donnarumma (@ gigiodonna1) July 15, 2021
Donnarumma, however, takes care of herself. He is in his early 20s, he is already one of the best in the world in his position, he is a huge personality that inspires fear and respect from teammates and opponents. There are six weeks left in the window, but you can already say with confidence that this is the best piece of transfer deals that any club will do this summer.
And they have done it for free.