The possibility of moving to Milan brought childhood memories rushing back to Olivier Giroud. 

The Frenchman made official his departure from Chelsea for a reported two-year deal with the Serie A giants on Saturday. 

Now the veteran striker has designs on winning trophies with the Rossoneri himself. 

“I still feel like a little kid, 35 -- or almost 35 -- years old,” Giroud told Milan TV. “When I was young, I looked up to Jean-Pierre Papin, Andriy Shevchenko and obviously Paolo [Maldini].

“This team made me dream. I was also a big fan of Marco van Basten. So many great players have played in this massive club in Europe.

“Milan have a massive history in Europe and that’s why I wanted to join the club.

"Also to play in the best competition in Europe, in the Champions League, and I hope we can achieve great things with the team."

Milan will return to the Champions League this season for the first time since 2013-14. 

Only Real Madrid (13) have won more European titles than Milan's seven, but the Rossoneri have not triumphed in the competition since 2007. 

After winning the Champions League and the Europa League with Chelsea over a three-year span, Giroud wants to have the same type of experience in Milan. 

“I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to win trophies, playing for big clubs,” Giroud said.

“I think Milan is a club that deserves to play at the highest level." 

Beyond helping the team return to glory, Giroud is especially excited to play alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

“I think he’s an example for the youngsters, he’s one of the best strikers in Serie A and I’m looking forward to playing alongside him," Giroud said. "I think we will have fun!”

“I just want to win something with Milan, and with Zlatan it’s even better, you know.”

Olivier Giroud has joined Milan in a reported €2million (£1.7m) deal from Chelsea.

Giroud has signed a contract with the Rossoneri – said to be for two years – after they met the modest release clause in his contract.

Chelsea triggered a one-year extension for Giroud last season, which meant a free transfer was not possible, but there were otherwise few obstacles to block the move.

While Giroud was rarely a first-choice option at Chelsea following his arrival from Arsenal in January 2018. He found starts particularly hard to come by following the appointment of Thomas Tuchel.

After the German replaced Frank Lampard in late January, Giroud made only three Premier League starts, none of which came after February 28.

Previously, under Lampard, Giroud had taken on a fairly important role after the three-month coronavirus-enforced pause, scoring six goals in seven starts.

The signings of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz restricted Giroud from building on that form at the start of 2020-21 – he did not score a Premier League goal until December, though he did net five times in the Champions League group stage.

That included a remarkable four-goal haul in Chelsea's 4-0 win away to Sevilla, which 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.

Although Giroud did not feature for Chelsea in their Champions League semi-final nor final matches, he did get a medal in the competition and heads to Milan as a European champion.

Giroud will hope he enjoys a resurgence similar to his new team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Milan, with the Swede scoring 15 goals in just 19 appearances last term before sustaining an injury.

The French World Cup winner is the second player to swap Stamford Bridge for San Siro this year, following Fikayo Tomori to Serie A after his loan move was made permanent.

On top of Giroud, Milan are close to two other incomings, with Brahim Diaz – who spent last season at San Siro on loan from Real Madrid – set to rejoin on a two-year deal from Los Blancos, with an option to buy.

Monaco left-back Fode Ballo-Toure, meanwhile, is also set to sign.

Cristiano Ronaldo's future has been widely discussed this off-season.

The 36-year-old five-time Ballon d'Or winner has only one more year on his existing Juventus contract.

Ronaldo has been linked with several suitors among Europe's elite clubs as well as a switch to MLS after Juve failed to win the 2020-21 Serie A title.

 

TOP STORY - RONALDO SET TO EXTEND JUVE STAY

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to remain with Juventus amid talk of a new cut-price deal, reports Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Portugal international has attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain and former club Manchester United this off-season.

However, Ronaldo is close to extending his Juve stay with a fresh one-year contract, taking a pay cut.

 

ROUND-UP

– Manchester City are determined to sign Aston Villa's Jack Grealish, according to The Athletic, although the Birmingham Mail claims the England winger is expected to sign a new deal at Villa Park.

– The Sun reports Inter are ramping up their bid to sign Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin on a one-year loan deal with the option of a permanent switch.

– Real Madrid have not received any offers for Gareth Bale, who is expected to remain in the Spanish capital for another season, according to Mundo Deportivo.

– Goal claims Juventus have had their initial €30million offer for Manuel Locatelli rejected by Sassuolo, who have a higher price in mind.

Arsenal are set to land Brighton's Ben White, having agreed to a deal in principle, worth around £50m, reports The Athletic.

Juventus have confirmed that midfielder Arthur will miss the start of the Serie A season after undergoing successful knee surgery.

The Brazil international is set to be sidelined for the opening few weeks of Juve’s quest to wrestle back the Scudetto from Inter, which begins away at Udinese on August 22.

Following his switch from Barcelona in June 2020 – in a deal that saw Miralem Pjanic head in the opposite direction – Arthur played 32 times in all competitions during his debut season with the Bianconeri.

The central midfielder scored his first goal for the club in a 2-0 win over Bologna in January.

Jose Mourinho's Roma tenure started with a 10-0 rout of minnows Montecatini in a training match on Thursday.

Having been sacked by Tottenham, former Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Inter boss Mourinho was appointed as Roma's new head coach in May, replacing compatriot Paulo Fonseca.

Mourinho's first competitive match in charge will come in Roma's Serie A opener against Fiorentina in August, and the Giallorossi made an emphatic start to their pre-season against Serie D side Montecatini.

Borja Mayoral scored a hat-trick, with his first goal coming after Carles Perez and Gianluca Mancini struck to put Roma 2-0 up.

Riccardo Calafiori netted a swift follow up and an own goal from Montecatini put Roma 5-0 ahead at the break.

Nicolo Zaniolo converted a penalty after Mayoral helped himself to a second, with the Real Madrid loanee completing his hat-trick after Nicola Zalewski and Amadou Diawara had got on the scoresheet.

Serie B newcomers Ternana are next up for Roma, who face Serie C outfit Triestina three days later before rounding off their pre-season preparations with friendlies against Debrecen, Mourinho's former club Porto and Real Betis.

Real Madrid's desire to sign a new forward is not a secret.

The Spanish giants missed out on silverware in 2020-21, much to their dismay.

Carlo Ancelotti has replaced Zinedine Zidane as head coach with big expectations.

 

TOP STORY - MADRID TARGET SALAH IF MBAPPE FAILS

Ancelotti has told Real Madrid president Florentino Perez he wants to sign Liverpool's Mohamed Salah , reports Fichajes.

The Italian believes Los Blancos needs another forward, with Salah seen as his back-up plan if they fail to land Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

Madrid's financial situation is complicated, with the club not making any major signings in 2020-21 amid the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, but they appear determined to land a major forward this off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- 90min reports that Manchester United's Jesse Lingard has emerged as a target for Spanish champions Atletico Madrid, having caught Diego Simeone's eye during his loan spell at West Ham United.

- Chelsea have shopped around striker Tammy Abraham and Arsenal are interested, according to The Telegraph.

- The Athletic believes Tottenham may make a move for Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, although he has a £26m (€30m) release clause.

-  Poor relations between Spurs and Southampton, stemming from 2020's Pierre-Emile Hjobjerg deal, may scupper a proposed move for Danny Ings, according to Standard Sport.

- Newly promoted Brentford are set to splash a club record transfer fee of £13.5m to land Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer, claims The Telegraph.

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.

Inter director Beppe Marotta is bullish about retaining the bulk of the Italian champions' squad for the 2021-22 season, saying "90 per cent will be confirmed".

Title-winning head coach Antonio Conte was replaced by Simone Inzaghi already this off-season, with reports his departure was due to the club's need to cut operating costs.

That situation has also led to questions about Inter's transfer business this off-season and ability to retain their squad, with Achraf Hakimi already being sold to Paris Saint-Germain for €60m while Ashley Young has left for Aston Villa.

“We start from a squad that won the Scudetto and will 90 per cent be confirmed for this season, so that is a very important foundation to build on," Marotta told DAZN.

“We’ll now work to complete the squad in relation to Hakimi’s departure by being creative, as it’s difficult for any club right now to get involved in economically expensive deals.”

Inter have been linked with PSV Eindhoven talent Denzel Dumfries along with Arsenal's Hector Bellerin.

"There are many names, it’s too early to try predicting what will happen now," he said on the speculation.

The Nerazzurri have added Matteo Darmian, Zinho Vanheusden and Hakan Calhanoglu this off-season, with the latter joining as a free agent from rivals Milan.

"It was not an insult towards Milan, he was just a player who was a free agent," Marotta said. "Maybe next time it’ll be Milan who take a player when his contract with Inter expires."

Marotta was pressed on Christian Eriksen after his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, creating doubts about his club career.

The Inter director said the situation would be analysed as the Danish midfielder recovers.

Giorgio Chiellini's agent says they are waiting on Juventus to discuss a new contract, calling any retirement talk for Italy's Euro 2020 winning captain as "madness".

Chiellini, who turns 37 next month, is a free agent after his Juventus contract expired at the start of this month.

The veteran defender has been focusing on Italy's triumphant Euro 2020 campaign over the past month.

It has been widely expected Chiellini will sign on with the Old Lady for the 2021-22 season although his agent Davide Lippi revealed talks have not begun and they are open to offers from other clubs.

“It takes two to sign a contract,” agent Davide Lippi told Radio Radio.

“Giorgio went to the Euros and focused exclusively on that. There’s no problem with Juventus, we said we’d meet up later in the summer, but we haven’t yet sat down to discuss a renewal.”

On offers from other clubs, Lippi added: “They’d have to make the offer first. As of today, there is nobody. We are waiting for Juventus to tell us when we can sit down and have a chat.”

Lippi also moved to rubbish any talk of Chiellini hanging up the boots, fresh from Italy's continental triumph.

Chiellini has made 535 appearances for Juventus since joining the Serie A club in 2004, as well as 112 caps for the Azzurri.

The central defender, who returned within six months after tearing his ACL in 2019, has won the Scudetto with Juve nine times, as well as five Coppa Italia titles.

“Thinking of Chiellini away from the playing field at this moment is madness," Lippi said.

"What he did after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament is incredible. What fuels him is passion and we saw in the Euros that the passion is still strong.

“He was a symbol of Juventus for many years and we are waiting for a club. Nobody has called, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, as he’s the only free agent in the Italy squad now.”

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)

Inter face a reunion with former boss Jose Mourinho during a potentially tricky run of games from the end of September to early December as Simone Inzaghi's side attempt to retain their Serie A crown.

The Nerazzurri finished top of the pile in Italy last season for the first time in 11 years, though there has since been a change in the dugout as Antonio Conte stepped down and has been replaced by ex-Lazio boss Inzaghi.

Inzaghi's first competitive match in charge will be at home to Genoa on the opening weekend of the season, currently scheduled for the week ending August 22.

Inter have what looks to be a kind start to the campaign on paper, with their first meeting against one of last season's top six coming at home to Atalanta on matchday six at the end of September.

Inzaghi will travel to Lazio, whom he was in charge of for five years before departing for Inter in June, on matchday eight and will welcome his former employers to San Siro at the start of 2022.

The first Mourinho meeting comes late in year. He won the treble with Inter in 2009-10, and the Nerazzurri travel to Roma on December 5.

Roma then visit San Siro for the reverse fixture in April.

In terms of other headline fixtures, the Scudetto holders face rivals and last season's runners-up Milan in the week ending November 7 and again in the first week of February.

That first game with Stefano Pioli's side comes two weeks on from a showdown with Juventus and is followed by the visit of Napoli in their next match, albeit with an international break sandwiched between.

Inter conclude their campaign with a home match against Sampdoria in the week ending May 22.

Speaking after the 2021-22 fixture list was released on Wednesday, Inzaghi told his new club's official website: "We're working to make sure we're ready for our opening Serie A game.

"It's going to be an interesting, exciting match against Genoa. We'll be playing our first one at home and we want to get off on the right foot.

"In any case for now we're just focusing on preparing as best we possibly can while waiting for the players involved in the Euros and Copa America to return."

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

22/08/2021 - Genoa (h)
29/08/2021 - Hellas Verona (a)
12/09/2021 - Sampdoria (a)
19/09/2021 - Bologna (h)
22/09/2021 - Fiorentina (a)
26/09/2021 - Atalanta (h)
03/10/2021- Sassuolo (a)
17/10/2021 - Lazio (a)
24/10/2021 - Juventus (h)
27/10/2021 - Empoli (a)
31/10/2021 - Udinese (h)
07/11/2021 - Milan (a)
21/11/2021 - Napoli (h)
28/11/2021 - Venezia (a)
01/12/2021 - Spezia (h)
05/12/2021 - Roma (a)
12/12/2021 - Cagliari (h)
19/12/2021 - Salernitana (a)
22/12/2021 - Torino (h)
06/01/2022 - Bologna (a)
09/01/2022 - Lazio (h)
16/01/2022 - Atalanta (a)
23/01/2022 - Venezia (h)
06/02/2022 - Milan (h)
13/02/2022 - Napoli (h)
20/02/2022 - Sassuolo (h)
27/02/2022 - Genoa (a)
06/03/2022 - Salernitana (h)
13/03/2022 - Torino (a)
20/03/2022 - Fiorentina (h)
03/04/2022 - Juventus (a)
10/04/2022 - Hellas Verona (h)
16/04/2022 - Spezia (a)
24/04/2022 - Roma (h)
01/05/2022 - Udinese (a)
08/05/2022 - Empoli (h)
15/05/2022 - Cagliari (a)
22/05/2022 - Sampdoria (h)

Juventus will launch their 2021-22 season and quest to regain the Serie A title away at Udinese on August 22.

The Bianconeri’s run of nine straight Scudetti ended last term as they surrendered the crown to Inter and were forced to settle for a fourth-place finish.

That culminated in the dismissal of Andrea Pirlo, who was replaced at the helm by the returning Massimiliano Allegri.

Allegri, who guided Juve to five successive titles between 2015 and 2019, begins his second reign in charge with a trip to the Dacia Arena to face Udinese, before welcoming Empoli to the Allianz Stadium the following week.

Juventus host Allegri’s former employers Milan on September 19, with the return fixture against the Rossoneri in January.

Before that, they travel to the San Siro to face reigning champions Inter on October 24, before welcoming the Nerazzurri at the start of April for what could be a crucial clash in the title run-in.

Elsewhere, the Bianconeri head to Torino for the season's first instalment of the Derby della Mole on October 3, with the second coming on February 20.

Allegri’s men face a potentially tricky climax to the campaign, hosting Lazio on May 15 before concluding away at Fiorentina the following week.

Milan director Paolo Maldini has confirmed Olivier Giroud is close to joining the Serie A side from Chelsea.

The France international has spent the past three and a half years at Stamford Bridge and recently had a 12-month extension in his contract triggered by the Blues.

Giroud was restricted to just 12 starts in all competitions last season, yet he still finished as Chelsea's top scorer in their Champions League-winning campaign with six goals, and only Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham (both 12) scored more goals across all competitions.

Milan are reported to have agreed a €3million (£2.56m) fee with Chelsea, offering Giroud, who represented France at Euro 2020, a two-year deal.

"Olivier should arrive tomorrow," Maldini told DAZN on Wednesday. "Olivier is a champion. He's done great things with France and Chelsea.

"He is a very reliable player and that's what we are looking for, as we have the youngest squad in Serie A, so we need some with more experience."

Giroud will become the second player to make the switch from Milan to Chelsea this window after the Italian giants took up the option to make Fikayo Tomori's loan deal permanent.

The 34-year-old is expected to lead the line for Stefano Pioli's side in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is recovering from a knee injury which ruled him out of Euro 2020.

Goalkeeper Mike Maignan has also joined from Ligue 1 champions Lille as a replacement for Gianluigi Donnarumma, who has signed for Paris Saint-Germain.

After spending last season on loan at Milan, Sandro Tonali also arrived on a permanent deal from Brescia earlier this month.

The Rossoneri did lose playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu to rivals Inter, though they are reportedly close to striking a deal with CSKA Moscow for Croatia international Nikola Vlasic, while Everton's James Rodriguez has also been linked.

Milan finished as runners-up in Serie A and will begin the new campaign away at Sampdoria on the week ending August 22.

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.

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