Erling Haaland is one of the most in-demand players in Europe.

Clubs from across the continent are queuing up to sign the Borussia Dortmund forward.

Real Madrid, however, are firmly placed to make a move for the Norwegian.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STILL EYEING HAALAND

Real Madrid believe a deal to sign Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland could be done next year, according to the front page of Friday's Marca.

Kylian Mbappe – out of contract in 2022 – has dominated headlines as Madrid target the Paris Saint-Germain forward.

But Madrid have not forgotten about Haaland, who is also reportedly wanted by Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic says Bernardo Silva has turned down a move to Tottenham as part of a potential deal that would help send Harry Kane to City. Atletico Madrid and Barca have also been linked with City's Silva.

Pedri could sign a new four-year deal with Barca by September, reports Sport. The 18-year-old has been a revelation at Camp Nou.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Milan are nearing a deal to sign Tiemoue Bakayoko from Chelsea. Bakayoko spent the 2018-19 season on loan at Milan. Di Marzio, meanwhile, says Milan are interested in bringing Monaco's Pietro Pellegri to San Siro on loan.

- Staying in Milan and Tuttosport reports the Rossoneri are interested in Sassuolo and Italy star Domenico Berardi. Leicester City are also reportedly among his admirers.

- Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga is dreaming of a move to PSG, according to Le Parisien. United have also been linked with the France midfielder.

Simon Kjaer insisted he is "not a hero" for his quick-thinking actions to save Christian Eriksen, who collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest in Denmark's Euro 2020 opener.

In concerning scenes in Copenhagen against Finland in June, Eriksen received CPR on the pitch with his team-mates forming a protective screen around him.

The Denmark midfielder has subsequently been fitted with a pacemaker and encouragingly returned to Inter's training ground in August – Eriksen's health being "the only thing that matters" to Kjaer.

Kjaer was one of the first to the scene and prevented Eriksen from swallowing his own tongue as he placed his team-mate into the recovery position.

The centre-back was hailed as a saviour but he told Corriere della Sera: "I'm not a hero, I just did what I had to do, without thinking, like anyone else would.

"Then what happened, happened. I was ready to remain lucid, like all my team-mates. It was a team effort, obviously we would have done the same if he had been an opponent.

"Instinct guided me, and I did what I had to, automatically. It was the first time this happened to me, I hope it’s the last, too.

"That’s all. The only thing that matters is that Christian is fine now. That's the only important thing. I did it without thinking."

It remains unclear if Eriksen will be able to play in Italy again due to the national restrictions on people playing with ICDs – a device connected to the heart to regulate abnormal rhythms.

However, Eriksen could feature in other European countries, as seen by the example of Daley Blind, who still features for Ajax despite an ICD fitting in 2019.

Kjaer's focus remains firmly on Serie A with Milan and, after Stefano Pioli credited the Denmark international as a leader, the Rossoneri fans want the defender to take the armband.

"We already have a captain and his name is [Alessandro] Romagnoli," the 32-year-old responded to questions over the captaincy.

"There is great harmony and sportiness between us. I don't care about the armband. I do my best always and in any case.

"There is harmony, unity [at Milan]. But above all there is a desire to work. Because without work, there is no improvement.

"A team like Milan has the duty to aim for the maximum. This is the only way to grow. I've never won a championship and I'd like to do it with Milan. [It] would be a dream."

Gareth Bale was denied from the penalty spot as Real Madrid rounded off their pre-season preparations with a goalless draw against Milan in Austria.

Handed a start by the returning ex-Rossoneri coach Carlo Ancelotti, Bale was making his first appearance for Madrid in over a year after spending last season on loan at Tottenham.

But the Wales international could not mark the occasion with a goal, Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan guessing correctly to save his 41st-minute penalty at the Worthersee Stadion.

Maignan, who arrived from Ligue 1 champions Lille last month, is expected to start the season as Milan number one following Gianluigi Donnarumma's departure for Paris Saint-Germain.

The France international would have certainly impressed Stefano Pioli with his smart saves to deny Bale and David Alaba from distance.

He then went the right way to keep out Bale from 12 yards when the forward was brought down by Davide Calabria after a surging run into the box.

The breakthrough continued to elude both sides after the break, Luka Modric going close as he rattled the crossbar from 25 yards, while Brahim Diaz stung Andriy Lunin's palms at the other end.

Madrid launch their LaLiga season away at Deportivo Alaves on August 14, the same day that Milan complete their preparations for the forthcoming Serie A campaign against Panathinaikos.

Olivier Giroud is excited to start a new chapter in his career in Serie A and says "God wanted me to play for Milan".

The 34-year-old joined the Rossoneri in a reported €2million (£1.7m) deal on July 17, bringing an end to his nine-year stay in the Premier League with Arsenal and more recently Chelsea.

Giroud is looking forward to adding to his trophy collection during his time in Italy having won Ligue 1 with Montpellier before lifting the FA Cup four times tasting glory in the Champions League and Europa League during his time in England.

"I won many trophies at every club I've been at and would like to do the same here," he said at his official unveiling on Monday. 

"I do have an objective in my mind during my time here, but I don't want to reveal it, otherwise there will be too much pressure. Let's just say my final objective is to win with Milan."

Giroud is thought to have signed a two-year deal with Milan and is following in the steps of legendary figures such as Gunnar Nordahl, Filippo Inzaghi and Andriy Shevchenko.

And the France international leaned on one of those iconic figures before putting pen to paper with the Italian giants.

"The time had come to leave Chelsea and discover a new league. God wanted me to play for Milan," he said. 

"This is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I really believe in the project here. We've got what it takes to have a very good Champions League campaign.

"When I was young, I watched Milan games with Shevchenko and he later became a dear friend who I asked for advice.

"It's an honour for me to be at a club where so many great stars have played and it was emotional talking to [director] Paolo Maldini, too.

"I want to give my contribution, be a big brother to the players and bring my experience. I hope also to be remembered as a good person and not just a great player."

 

Giroud found starts hard to come by at Chelsea following Thomas Tuchel's arrival in late January, though he did make his mark felt in his final campaign at Stamford Bridge.

The World Cup winner netted five times in Chelsea's Champions League-winning campaign, four of those goals coming in the Blues' 4-0 victory at Sevilla in the group stage.

That made him the oldest player (34 years, 63 days) to score a hat-trick in the Champions League/European Cup since Ferenc Puskas (38y, 173d) for Real Madrid in 1965.

He arrives at Milan as a European champion and has inherited the number nine shirt, which is one of the most iconic jerseys in football but has more recently become a poisoned chalice of sorts.

Mario Mandzukic, Krzysztof Piatek and Gonzalo Higuain have all failed to live up to its reputation in recent years, yet Giroud is unfazed by the weight of expectation.

"I am not superstitious. A shirt number cannot change the way I play," he said.

"Strikers like Inzaghi, Marco van Basten and Jean-Pierre Papin wore this shirt for Milan, but I don't feel the pressure."

Giroud will link up with another Milan great this coming season in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has 25 goals in 37 Serie A appearances since returning to San Siro in January 2020.

Grenoble product Giroud will turn 35 next month but is inspired by 39-year-old Ibrahimovic to continue playing at the top for as long as possible.

"My age means nothing," he said. "Zlatan is a few years older than me, but it's all about your mentality. With the right motivation, you can still push hard."

Giroud scored with his first touch as a Milan player in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Nice. Stefano Pioli's men face Valencia in their next pre-season outing on Wednesday.

In-demand midfielder Franck Kessie says he wants to stay at Milan "forever" and plans to sign a new deal when he returns from the Olympics.

Kessie is in the final year of his deal with the Rossoneri and has been linked with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

The 24-year-old, currently representing Ivory Coast at the Games in Tokyo, has assured Milan he has no intention of moving on.

"I'm proud to have chosen Milan and it is not my intention to leave. Indeed, I want to stay forever," he told Gazzetta dello Sport: 

"When I come back from the Olympics, I'll fix everything. I just want Milan. Sporting director Paolo Maldini knows my thoughts.

"I want to be the 'president' of Milan for life."

 

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli said he has no concerns about Kessie departing earlier this month.

Asked about the prospect of Kessie signing a new deal, he said: "These are club things. We all know how important Franck is and how happy he is to be at Milan.

"Franck has grown a lot, we talk about him but the others have also grown. He can still do a lot, both I and the club know how important Franck is, I have already heard it. First he rested, then married, now he will go with the national team."

Kessie scored 13 goals – 11 of those coming from the penalty spot – and provided four assists as Milan finished second behind city rivals Inter in Serie A last season.

Harry Kane looks like he might soon get his wish to leave Tottenham.

Spurs had previously dug in their heels and were determined that Kane, who is contracted until 2024, would stay.

The England captain won last season's Premier League Golden Boot with 23 goals, and now he could be heading to the champions.

 

TOP STORY – CITY SET FOR BUMPER KANE DEAL

Tottenham forward Harry Kane is poised for a £160million move to Manchester City, reports The Sun.

According to the report, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will allow Kane to exit the club for such a sum.

Kane is said by the newspaper to have agreed personal terms on a £400,000-a-week deal with City, which is reportedly double his current Tottenham contract.

 

ROUND-UP

- Paul Pogba has rejected a £50million contract offer at Manchester United and is set to leave this summer, according to The Mirror as rumours swirl about Paris Saint-Germain's interest.

- Marca reports that Kylian Mbappe will reject Paris Saint-Germain's latest contract offer and look to seal a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

- Fabrizio Romano has reported that talks are ongoing between Atalanta and Tottenham for Cristian Romero with personal terms agreed and a €55m price tag on the table.

- Atalanta want Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez included in any deal, reports Sportitalia.

- Milan are interested in signing Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech on loan, claims Calcio Mercato.

- Donyell Malen 's transfer from PSV Eindhoven to Borussia Dortmund is all but done according to Dutch outlet ED, with an anticipated €30m fee.

Stefano Pioli feels team spirit will be "crucial" ahead of the 2021-22 campaign and he pointed towards Simon Kjaer and Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the men who lead by example at Milan.

Having been appointed in 2019, with the Rossoneri slumped in 13th in Serie A, Pioli guided his side up to 6th at the end of the campaign before a second-place finish last season – their joint-highest since winning the Scudetto in 2010-11.

Simon Kjaer, who ranked second among Milan defenders for aerial duels won (55) and first for interceptions (42) in 2020-21, was a standout performer as the Rossoneri undertook something of a transformation under Pioli.

And after Kjaer's heroics at Euro 2020, involving the potentially life-saving actions he performed to deal with Christian Eriksen's concerning collapse against Finland, Pioli appeared unsurprised by the Dane's clarity of mind.

"I already knew the value of Kjaer. He is a man of rare intelligence and sensitivity," the head coach told Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

"He used those qualities to save a friend. He was lucid and precise even in such a dramatic situation."

But Pioli was not just full of praise for Kjaer, as he shifted his focus to define the important role that Ibrahimovic plays for the Rossoneri.

The 39-year-old netted 15 times during the last Serie A campaign, though it is the forward's presence off the pitch that the former Inter head coach sees as a great aid.

"Ibrahimovic has helped me a lot, he is an example in everything he does. He demands the best from himself and the others. Zlatan and Simon [Kjaer] have changed the team, not just technically, but especially in the moral sense," Pioli added.

Milan, who play Serie C side Modena on Saturday, are well underway with their pre-season plans as they prepare to compete in the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14.

The signings of Olivier Giroud, Fikayo Tomori and Sandro Tonali – the latter pair making their loan deals permanent – will only further develop an already strong squad, and Pioli is looking forward to the season ahead.

"We must not set limits for ourselves, but it will be a difficult season because there will be seven teams fighting for the top four," the head coach said.

"The group is crucial, Italy won the Euros because you could see the team spirit in their eyes. You don't win with tactics, you win by putting the group ahead of yourself."

Paul Pogba has one year remaining on his Manchester United contract.

After a strong Euro 2020 with France, he is attracting interest.

Pogba has been linked with a move away from United numerous times in the past and a decision could be looming.

 

ROUND-UP – POGBA'S AGENT IN PSG TALKS

Paul Pogba 's agent Mino Raiola is discussing a potential move to  Paris Saint-Germain , claims the Daily Mail.

Manchester United are feeling the pressure to sell the France international who is set to be a free agent in 12 months' time.

PSG are reportedly eyeing off a £43million move, which is less than half the amount United paid for him in 2016, given his contract status.

 

TOP STORY

–  Chelsea are ready to submit a monster bid worth £135m for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland , claims 90min. Dortmund have insisted they will not sell the Norway forward, but the bumper deal may tempt them.

– Bild claims  Manchester United along with Real Madrid and Barcelona are monitoring Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka 's situation.

–  Milan are looking to prepare another loan deal for Diogo Dalot from Manchester United, reports Fabrizio Romano.

– Sky Sports claims a deal is imminent for Arsenal's Granit Xhaka to move to Roma .

Milan announced the re-signing of Real Madrid's Brahim Diaz on Monday on a two-year loan deal and the 21-year-old feels the Rossoneri can compete to achieve "great" things under Stefano Pioli.

Diaz spent the 2020-21 campaign on a season-long loan at the San Siro, managing four goals and three assists in 27 Serie A outings, 17 of which Pioli's men ran out victors in.

Formerly of Manchester City, Milan's loanee is aware of the pressures that come with a club like the Rossoneri but he insists he will not shy away from the battle next campaign.

"I'll give my all to show my talent and I'll give my blood, sweat and tears for this great club", Diaz told the in-house media on Tuesday.

"I'll fight to make it a great season. I've learnt how important Milan are and this season I hope to have an even better season. Last season was great, but this is a new season.

"Milan deserves a team worthy of the club. I am confident we are all ready to do our best and achieve great things."

Last campaign, out of the forwards at the San Siro, Diaz (1.31) ranked second behind Ante Rebic (1.77) for chances created from open play per 90 minutes.

The Spaniard (0.81) was also the most fouled player in the final third for Milan to frequently offer the likes of Theo Hernandez and Hakan Calhanoglu set-piece opportunities.

 

Diaz also spoke highly of Pioli, who guided Milan to second last season, their highest Serie A finish since their Scudetto-winning performance in the 2010-11 season.

"Our success was thanks to coach Pioli. He created a good team from the experienced players and young players who are growing," Diaz added.

"We have all learnt a lot from the coach, he taught me a lot and, under his guidance, last season we had a good season.

"Now we must improve and in the coach's hands, we certainly will."

Milan have re-signed forward Brahim Diaz on a two-year loan deal from Real Madrid.

The Rossoneri announced on Monday the 21-year-old Spaniard will be tied to the Serie A club until June 30, 2023 and will wear the number 10 shirt.

Diaz spent last season on loan at San Siro where he scored four goals and provided three assists in 27 games in Serie A, 17 of which ended in victories for Stefano Pioli's side.

The former Manchester City man, who signed for Madrid from the Premier League club in January 2019, had 26 shots for Milan last season with a conversion rate of 15.38.

Diaz, a technically gifted and skilful attacker, joined City in 2015 after showing promise in Malaga's youth ranks.

Although he was regarded as one of City's best prospects alongside Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden, Diaz followed the former in leaving the club in search of more opportunities.

He won his first cap for Spain in June when he started and scored in a 4-0 friendly win over Lithuania, a match where Luis Enrique was forced to call up his country's under-21 squad en masse. Sergio Busquet's positive COVID-19 test in the build-up to Euro 2020 left La Roja's senior team in isolation.

"Happy to be back. Thank you for all the love I have received," Diaz posted on his Twitter account.

 

 

Milan have announced the signing of defender Fode Ballo-Toure from Monaco on a four-year deal.

The Senegal international, who emerged through Paris Saint-Germain's academy and has also previously represented Lille, is reported to have cost Milan an initial €4.2million.

Former France youth player Ballo-Toure joined Monaco from fellow Ligue 1 side Lille in January 2019 and made 74 appearances for Les Monegasques in all competitions. That includes 24 outings in Ligue 1 last season, albeit just six of those being starts. 

He ranked particularly highly for crosses, with his average of 5.4 balls played into the box per 90 minutes bettered only by Sebastien Corchia (5.9), Leo Dubois (6.6) Clement Michelin (6.6) and Jonathan Clauss (7.7) among defenders to have played more than twice in Ligue 1 last season.

 

Ballo-Toure has been handed the number five jersey at San Siro and is expected to rival Theo Hernandez for a starting spot under Stefano Pioli this coming season.

Milan confirmed Ballo-Toure's arrival on their official website on Sunday, the 24-year-old becoming their fifth signing of the close season.

The Rossoneri have also brought in Mike Maignan and Olivier Giroud, while Fikayo Tomori and Sandro Tonali had their respective loan deals made permanent.

Pioli's side, whose second-place finish last season was their highest since 2011-12, kicked off their pre-season programme with a 6-0 win over Pro Sesto on Saturday.

Manchester City's pursuit of a new striker is well known.

Sergio Aguero's exit has left a void for the Premier League champions.

City have been linked with a host of big names including Erling Haaland and Harry Kane.

 

TOP STORY - MAN CITY MONITORING LEWANDOWSKI

Manchester City are monitoring the status of Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski, according to the Daily Mail.

Lewandowski has two years remaining on his Bayern Munich deal but has previously indicated he may be open to a move elsewhere.

The report claims City are worried they may not succeed in their pursuit of Kane and see 32-year-old Lewandowski as an option given his quality and potentially lower asking price.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool is readying a £60million (€70m) bid for Inter and Italy midfielder Nicolo Barella according to La Repubblica. However, Fabrizio Romano claims Inter will not sell him.

- Everton have submitted a £30m (€35m) bid for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, but the Italian club have told the Toffees to double the offer, claims Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports that England full-back Kieran Trippier is desperate to return to the Premier League as he waits on a move from Atletico Madrid to Manchester United.

- The Telegraph also claims that Joe Willock will spend time on loan again at Newcastle from Arsenal. He will join the Magpies on a season-long deal.

- SPORT claims that Chelsea are tracking Sevilla's Jules Kounde after he recently rejected interest from Tottenham.

- Chelsea are looking to utilise Tammy Abraham as a sweetener in any deal to land Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, reports The Mirror.

- West Bromwich have turned down West Ham's offer for goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, claims The Athletic.

Milan will face three of last season's other top-six sides in their opening seven games of the 2021-22 Serie A campaign.

Last season's second-placed finish was the Rossoneri's best in nine years, but it was tinged with disappointment as bitter rivals Inter overtook them to finish at the summit.

Stefano Pioli's men will be looking to go one better this time around and end their 11-season wait for Scudetto glory, though they have been dealt a difficult hand.

Milan take on Sampdoria and Cagliari in their opening two matches, before a tough run that will see them face Lazio, Juventus and Atalanta within their next five games.

The first Derby della Madonnina of the season will take place on matchday 12 in early November, with Milan the designated home team for that showdown with champions Inter.

The reverse fixture in the opening week of February comes straight on the back of a home match against Juventus, who are being coached once again this term by ex-Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri.

Milan face Atalanta in their final home match of 2020-21 before heading to Sassuolo in the concluding round of games.

 

Milan's Serie A fixtures in full, subject to change:

22/08/2021 - Sampdoria (a)
29/08/2021 - Cagliari (h)
12/09/2021 - Lazio (h)
19/09/2021 - Juventus (a)
22/09/2021 - Venezia (h)
25/09/2021 - Spezia (a)
03/10/2021 - Atalanta (a)
17/10/2021 - Hellas Verona (h)
24/10/2021 - Bologna (a)
27/10/2021 - Torino (h)
31/10/2021 - Roma (a)
07/11/2021 - Inter (h)
21/11/2021 - Fiorentina (a)
28/11/2021 - Sassuolo (h)
01/12/2021 - Genoa (a)
05/12/2021 - Salernitana (h)
12/12/2021 - Udinese (a)
19/12/2021 - Napoli (h)
22/12/2021 - Empoli (a)
06/01/2022 - Roma (h)
09/01/2022 - Venezia (a)
16/01/2022 - Spezia (h)
23/01/2022 - Juventus (h)
06/02/2022 - Inter (a)
13/02/2022 - Sampdoria (h)
20/02/2022 - Salernitana (a)
27/02/2022 - Udinese (h)
06/03/2022 - Napoli (a)
13/03/2022 - Empoli (h)
20/03/2022 - Cagliari (a)
03/04/2022 - Bologna (h)
10/04/2022 - Torino (a)
16/04/2022 - Genoa (h)
24/04/2022 - Lazio (a)
01/05/2022 - Fiorentina (h)
08/05/2022 - Hellas Verona (a)
15/05/2022 - Atalanta (h)
22/05/2022 - Sassuolo (a)

Serie A winners Inter will begin their title defence with a home match against Genoa.

Fixtures for the 2021-22 season were announced on Wednesday, with the side now coached by Simone Inzaghi given a San Siro opener.

That means city rivals Milan, who were runners-up last year, will begin with an away contest against Sampdoria in the week ending August 22.

Juventus, meanwhile, will start their bid to regain the Scudetto under Massimiliano Allegri with an away fixture against Udinese.

The Old Lady host Empoli in week two before a crunch clash away to Napoli on matchday three.

A tricky start continues for Allegri as he will then face former club Milan, with Juve at home for that huge clash on matchday four.

Inzaghi will take on former club Lazio for the first time on week eight, a week before the first Derby d'Italia against Juve the following matchday, week ending October 24.

The first Milan derby has provisionally been scheduled for the weekend of November 7, which is week 12 of the campaign.

Inter play Milan for the second time on February 6 with their second contest against Juve coming towards the end of the season on April 3.

Should the title race go down to the last day of the season, Inter end their league campaign at home to Sampdoria, while Juve travel to Fiorentina and Milan face Sassuolo.

 

Serie A week one fixtures:

Bologna v Salernitana
Cagliari v Spezia
Empoli v Lazio
Verona v Sassuolo
Inter v Genoa
Napoli v Venezia
Roma v Fiorentina
Sampdoria v Milan
Torino v Atalanta
Udinese v Juventus

It's a fact that 'free' transfers in football are, all things considered, quite expensive. Wages, signing fees, agent demands and general costs make any such deal have a sizeable imprint on a club's balance sheet.

Still, Paris Saint-Germain's signing of Gianluigi Donnarumma for a big fat zero in transfer fees sounds like a sensational piece of business – particularly after his Euro 2020 heroics.

The Italy goalkeeper has left Milan, his boyhood club, to join Mauricio Pochettino's side where he hopes to be able to challenge for the biggest club trophies, most obviously the Champions League.

Certainly, Donnarumma is right to aspire to the top prizes. This is a player who made 200 appearances for the Rossoneri by the age of just 21 years and 146 days, who was valued at €170million by agent Mino Raiola when he was just 16.

PSG have secured a bargain, for sure – but is it one they really needed? Incumbent number one Keylor Navas certainly did not seem to think so when he posted to Instagram "gift your absence to those who do not value your presence" shortly after the Donnarumma rumours first emerged.

As Opta data shows, Navas, a four-time Champions League winner, may well have a point.

 

First, it's important to stress once again that Donnarumma is an excellent signing. PSG are recruiting a highly experienced yet young goalkeeper without paying a transfer fee; a goalkeeper whose market value is only likely to increase over the coming decade – indeed, it has in the past week alone – should Les Parisiens decide to cash in at any point.

However, it's also true that, if the short-term goal is simply to improve the first XI with a view to winning the Champions League, replacing Navas with Donnarumma may not be a fool-proof move.

In 2020-21, Donnarumma kept 14 clean sheets in 37 matches in all competitions. Navas also managed 14 shut-outs, having played in eight fewer games. The Costa Rican conceded only 18 goals in those matches, whereas Donnarumma let in 38.

Donnarumma produced more saves (92) than Navas (74), but the older man's save percentage was far higher: 80.43 per cent, compared to 70.08. In fact, Navas boasted the highest save percentage of any keeper in Europe's top-five leagues last term who started at least 10 matches, a fraction above Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak (80 per cent). Donnarumma came 25th in those rankings.

Navas' distribution was better, too: his passing accuracy (85.65) was better than that of Donnarumma (77.04), with only three regular keepers in Europe's top-five leagues posting better numbers. Donnarumma did at least surpass Navas for keeper sweepings, which are defined as any time a keeper anticipates danger and rushes off their line to try either to cut out an attacking pass (in a race with the opposition player) or to close down an opposition player: he completed nine of nine such 'sweepings', with Navas on five out of five.

 

Going further and looking at expected goals on target – a way of building on expected goals that takes into account the quality of the attempt on goal – we can highlight how well these keepers have done to keep high-quality shots on target from going in. This is done by subtracting goals conceded (excluding own goals) from xGOT conceded, giving us 'goals prevented'. And it's another big tick for Navas.

In Ligue 1 last term, if we exclude penalties and own goals, Navas let in 17 goals from an xGOT conceded total of 24.1, giving him a figure of 7.1 goals prevented. In other words, he would reasonably have been expected to concede roughly seven more goals based on the quality of shots on target he faced. Meanwhile, Donnarumma conceded 35 from an xGOT of 34.1, giving him a goals prevented figure of -0.9 – not terrible, but nothing to shout about.

 

Last season's figures were not isolated, either. If you look back over Donnarumma's 215 club appearances since his Milan debut on October 25, 2015, Navas' consistency as a shot-stopper is superior.

Donnarumma conceded 227 goals for Milan (excluding own goals) in all competitions from an xGOT figure of 244.4, giving him a goals prevented tally of 17.4. That's a strong return – better, for instance, than Manchester United's David de Gea (16.6) and Liverpool's Alisson (16.1) – but, again, it's lower than that of Navas (20.3).

For balance, both of them are a long way behind the top performer in this metric over that time frame. That man, unsurprisingly, is Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid, with a quite remarkable goals prevented figure of 44.5.

 

It's as yet unclear what Navas' plans will be now that Donnarumma has moved to Parc des Princes, but a keeper with his pedigree and medal collection is unlikely to settle for a back-up role. And nor should he: Donnarumma might be PSG's future, but Navas does not deserve to be dispensed with in the present.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.