If the Super League fiasco taught us one thing, it's this: Football has a clearly delineated class system. You have your provincial clubs at the very bottom; the ones who are just living paycheck-to-paycheck content simply to exist. Then you have the middle-class clubs; the ones who generally sit in the middle of the pack and view the Europa League (or now the Conference League) as a sign of progress but can occasionally stumble into the Champions League. Next comes the upper-middle-class clubs; the ones who are locked in a life and death fight for the top four every season. Following those clubs are the elite; the ones who generally vie for the top two to three spots in any given league table and can occasionally mount a genuine title run if the cards fall in their favor.
Those four castes—provincial, middle class, upper-middle-class and elite—were commonplace for most of the past 30 years, but the Super League brought to light an entirely new class of clubs: the ultra-elite. You know these clubs. They're owned by oil barons, titans of new money, and, in some instances, an entire oil-rich nation. These are the clubs that can drop nine figures on a player without batting an eye, the ones who brush off FFP concerns like so much dirt on their shoulders.
These are the clubs, like Manchester City, Chelsea, and PSG, that can afford to spend over €20 million on a goalkeeper and then add another keeper for another €20 million in gross salary.
I was corrected (thank you @Marco_Villella) and in fact the annual gross wages combined are far more shocking:— The AC Milan Øffside (@SBNRossonero) June 7, 2021
Keylor + Donnarumma = €43.6M
Ibra + Rebic + Maignan + Kessie + Theo + Bennacer + Kjær + Calabria + Saelemaekers = €43.2M.
That’s 9 starters.... https://t.co/MVYtlHasfj
With word spreading that PSG is set to sign former AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to a five-year free-agent deal worth a reported €12 million plus bonuses (after-tax), the Parisians are about to redefine the word excess. Nearly any non-elite club in the world would trip or themselves to sign PSG's current keeper, 34-year-old Keylor Navas—or even Alphonse Areola; one of several PSG keepers out on loan—but not content with Navas, PSG are set to drop €120 million in salary (pre-tax) on a kid who is essentially a redundant asset.
And that redundancy could work in Roma's favor—at least for one season.
Une autre recrue devrait suivre presque dans la foulée et, là encore, sans indemnité à débourser. Le club de la capitale n'est plus très loin d'un accord avec Gianluigi Donnarumma pour une durée de cinq ans https://t.co/o3s6DMbqTS pic.twitter.com/kjptLXYFfk— L'ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) June 8, 2021
According to French paper L’Equipe, the glut of expensive keepers at the Parc des Princes could see Donnarumma spend the 2021-2022 season on loan. With Navas ostensibly keeping his place as PSG's starting keeper for a year, and with several other keepers out on loan, the club may seek to find a temporary home for Donnarumma.
Loosely translated French courtesy of L’Google:
For the time being, nothing has been done yet. But the discussions are progressing. Donnarumma would then be added to an already very rich workforce in his position, Keylor Navas remaining number 1, while Sergio Rico, bought € 6 million last summer, and under contract until 2024, intends to stay and that the club must also manage loan returns from Alphonse Areola (Fulham), Garissone Innocent (Caen) and Marcin Bulka (Châteauroux). Donnarumma, who does not want to stay a season on the bench, could then be loaned. AS Roma, who are looking for a goalkeeper, would be in pole position to welcome him.
With everyone from Rui Patricio to Juan Musso to Hugo Lloris rumored as Pau Lopez replacements, a one-year loan for a player of Donnarumma's caliber is an intriguing option. A keeper of his stature would be a tremendous boost for Roma as they transition to life under José Mourinho, and could give them an edge as they fight to return to the Champions League in 2022-2023.
A one-year loan of Donnarumma, as great as he may be, won't solve Roma's long-term concerns at the position, but it would buy them time. With Donnarumma holding down the fort in goal for a year, Roma would have the luxury of exploring other options for 2022 and beyond. Whether that's giving Daniel Fuzato a genuine crack at the job, hoping Mourinho can round out Lopez's rough spots, or simply waiting a year and seeing who pops up on the transfer market, a short-term Donnarumma stay would benefit Roma on and off the pitch.
Will it happen? It's hard to say. A club investing over €40 million in salary on two keepers is unprecedented, especially when you consider that the incumbent is signed for another three seasons, but PSG doesn't abide by normal rules, they follow the golden rule: he who has the gold, makes the rules.
If Manchester City and Chelsea are ultra-elite, PSG and all their Qatari money may be in a class of their own.
But hey, if it benefits Roma for a year, is it really that bad? (Don't answer that)