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  • Daniele Proch

Serie A’s Expiring Contracts: How Things Might Play Out For Gianluigi Donnarumma, Zlatan Ibrahimović

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

~ Original article here!

An exclusive report by Gazzetta Dello Sport recently unveiled the annual net wages of the Serie A players for the 2020/21 season.

According to data from Transfermarkt, 111 out of the total 595 Serie A players will run out their contracts on June 30, 2021. Some are expected to enter negotiations with their club to discuss contract extensions, while others will have to find another home for next season.

Among the players with expiring contracts, Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma and Zlatan Ibrahimović are collecting the highest salaries. The 21-year-old goalkeeper, currently on a €6 million wage, will likely see an increase considering his young age, the renowned savviness of his agent, Mino Raiola, when it comes to contract negotiation, and the club’s recent outstanding performances: The Rossoneri have been undefeated in the last 16 Serie A matches and are first in this campaign with a perfect 4-0-0 record.

With four total goals and an enviable scoring frequency of one goal every 45 minutes, 39-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimović is the leading scorer of this 2020/21 Serie A season. Given Ibrahimović’s tremendous impact on the Rossoneri, it will not be hard to imagine Milan extending his €7 million/year contract, which is currently the largest of all players on the roster.

Milan will also try to convince attacking midfielder Hakan Çalhanoğlu to stay. The 26-year-old Turkish International, who rose to prominence in the role of trequartista under Stefano Pioli, is currently on a €2.5 million wage. About Donnarumma, Ibrahimović, and Çalhanoğlu, Pioli said in a recent interview to Radio Anch’io Sport that Milan “will do anything possible to move forward together.”

Napoli, who just rolled over Atalanta with an overwhelming 4-1 victory in Serie A’s latest fixture, will lose striker Arkadiusz Milik at no cost in 2021, according to Corriere dello Sport. The Italian newspaper reported that the 26-year-old Polish international, who scored 48 goals in 122 appearances in all competitions with Napoli, is out of the Partenopei’s plans and will continue to train by himself until January, when he will be able to sign with another club. Napoli, who had signed Milik for €33 million from Ajax in 2016, will find cold comfort in saving €2.5 million from his annual salary.

Another center-forward, 35-year-old Fernando Llorente, will likewise run out of contract at the end of this season. Considering that Llorente tried to leave Naples in the past transfer window, it will be hard for him to convince the club to renew his €2.5 million/year salary. On the other end of the pitch, Napoli will soon have to deal with renewing the expiring contracts of defenders Elseid Hysaj and Nikola Maksimović, respectively on €1.6 million and €1.2 million at the moment.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s trustworthy mediano, Marten de Roon, is on an expiring €1 million/year contract. The Dutch midfielder should see his new salary benefit from last year’s performances, when he played a big role in helping Atalanta finish third in Serie A and reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

But do not expect de Roon’s new contract to soar: Even though La Dea competed at the highest level of Italian and European football, it remains a club with moderate financial resources. The aforementioned report by Gazzetta dello Sport reveals that the size of Atalanta’s wage bill, which adds up to €42.6 million, is still smaller than that of half of the Italian clubs.

During the past transfer window, Juventus tried to release Sami Khedira and unload his €6 million wage. The German midfielder, who is still in Turin despite not being part of Andrea Pirlo’s plans, will run out his contract next summer.

Giorgio Chiellini and Gianluigi Buffon, two Bianconeri beloved veterans, are taking their future year by year. This past summer, Corriere dello Sport reported, Chiellini, 36, and Buffon, 42, signed a one-year contract extension with Juventus for €3.5 million and €1.5 million, respectively. It is reasonable to assume that they will continue with this approach until they retire.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Roma’s attacking midfielder who currently leads Serie A in assists, has become a consistent starter in Paulo Fonseca’s lineup. Because he is an injury-prone player, Mkhitaryan has an option to extend his contract with Roma if he reaches at least 20 appearances during this Serie A season. He is currently on a €3.5 million annual wage, which is the fourth-highest on the Giallorossi roster.

Inter will likely extend their professional relationship with Danilo D’Ambrosio, a natural full-back who has shown versatility in adapting to the wing-back or center-back position in a 3-5-2 system. He is currently on a €2 million/year wage.

The Nerazzurri will have to decide what to do with the expiring contracts of Aleksandar Kolarov, for whom Inter has an option, and Ashley Young. Their age and salary will certainly factor into Inter’s decision about extending their contract, as both of them are over 34 years old and currently earning €3 million a year.

Other notable names running out of contracts in Serie A are those of experienced attacking players: Fabio Quagliarella (€1.2 million/year), who already has three goals in four games for Sampdoria; Rodrigo Palacio at Bologna (€1.1 million/year); Goran Pandev at Genoa (€500,000/year); and Fiorentina’s Franck Ribéry, whose €4 million/year contract is the largest in Florence.

Even though these players are all past 37 years old, they are still difference makers in Serie A thanks to their goal-scoring abilities and astuteness in the final third of the pitch. With Ibrahimović showing that one can be the Serie A top scorer at 39, why would clubs refuse to grant a contract extension to these seasoned, but still proficient, strikers?

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