'Had the chance': Fabrizio Romano claims Chelsea could've signed Ballon d'Or nominee in summer

Fabrizio Romano revealed Chelsea had the opportunity to land Gianluigi Donnarumma in the previous transfer window but decided against it.

Speaking on his Here We Go podcast, Romano divulged the information regarding Donnarumma and his missed move to Stamford Bridge.

The talented goalkeeper had been on the Blues radar for a while after it was announced he was set to run down the rest of his AC Milan contract.

Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Although Milan tried to tie down their golden child, they failed to persuade him to remain at the San Siro.

Instead, the 22-year-old become a free agent over the summer, with the world his oyster in terms of selecting the next team he wanted to join.

Donnarumma didn’t choose Chelsea

Eventually, Donnarumma donned the colours of Paris-Saint Germain as part of their largely penniless spending spree.

However, the situation may have been entirely different had Chelsea changed their mind about the Italian international.  

“Chelsea had the chance to sign Gianluigi Donnarumma as a free agent,” explained Romano.

Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images

“It was around March or April with Mino Raiola they had some opportunities on this side.

“Donnarumma was not convinced on the Premier League. It was not Chelsea, but Donnarumma was not excited about a Premier League move.

“He wanted to try something different and Paris-Saint Germain was his destination.

“But Chelsea too, they were not saying: ‘okay, let’s sign Donnarumma.’ They were saying: ‘we have Edouard Mendy.’”

Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Making it with Mendy

Chelsea’s decision to entrust Mendy with the primary ‘keeper position has certainly paid dividends.

His performance against Brentford last weekend had some labelling the Senegalese as the difference-maker in the Premier League title chase.

“What Petr Cech with Marina Granovskaia did together was impressive because signing him from France was a risk because they were not signing a top European goalkeeper,” continued Romano about Mendy.

“So they wanted to take a risk but they were 100% sure on this goalkeeper.

“So Edouard Mendy, untouchable for Chelsea and they wanted to trust him for many, many years.”

Certainly, recruiting Donnarumma would have been a fine piece of business.

A player of his calibre, acquired for virtually no cost; what’s not to like?

Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/BSR Agency/Getty Images

But he may have found tugging the no.1 jersey off Mendy an almost impossible task.

In Paris, the European Championship winner and Ballon d’Or nominee found it relatively easy to replace 34-year-old Kaylor Navas.

There was once a scenario where Kepa Arrizabalaga looked set to depart London in order to make room for Donnarumma.

But the Spaniard stayed put and has since vindicated the verdict on his Chelsea future.

Chelsea may well revisit the PSG goalie further down the line when Mendy is past his best.

Yet, for now, the Blues are in pretty safe hands.

 Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Twitter account here

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.