Mike Maignan: French Revolution

In keeping with the habit of signing players we faced in the Europa League, Milan have turned to Mike Maignan for our new first goalkeeper. The French international kept a clean sheet at the San Siro as Lille defeated Milan 3-0 in the group stage, our first loss after returning to play last year. This past season was Maignan's self-proclaimed best season of his career so far. Milan are counting on it being his first of many great seasons after the Donnarumma exit. The shock turn of events has forced Milan to continue their French revolution.


Ready for a revolution

Maignan was born in South America in French Guiana, a department and region of France which belongs to the European Union. He began his youth football career at the age of 8, playing for Villiers Le Bel J.S. in northern Paris. He stayed there until the age of 14, when he transferred to Paris Saint-Germain Academy (PSG.) He played for PSG II beginning in 2012, and was promoted to the first team in 2013 by Laurent Blanc, although he never made a first team appearance for the club. It was during this time that Maignan had an opportunity to get to know Ibrahimovic, who was also at PSG at that point. The goalkeeper also reportedly insulted Ibrahimovic to his face, and not only lived to tell about it, but also apparently earned the striker's respect for it.


Teammates

From Paris, he transferred to Lille in 2015. His professional debut with Lille included saving a penalty with his first touch.  During his time at the club, he played with our own Leao, whom he called a "prodigy." Maignan's Lille teammates nicknamed him "Magic Eagle" because he was 'king of the birds.' 

In the 2017-18 season, he was named goalkeeper of the year in the Trophées UNFP du football. Also over the course of his six years at Lille, he notably saved penalties against Falcao and Memphis Depay, amongst others. His percentage of penalties saved during his time at Lille is 31%, or 8 out of the 26 penalties he has faced.


Goalkeeper of the year at Lille

Unlike Donnarumma, who started for Milan at the age of 16 and quickly became our first team keeper, Maignan has had to work hard and climb the ranks to get where he is. This past season the 25 year-old won Ligue 1 with Lille, their first league title in ten years. Most notably, he had 21 clean sheets this season, in addition to the one he kept against us in the Europa League. Many stats are being thrown around, like his 79.4% save ratio and his amazing .61 goals conceded per game average. But like he said this week, he is not here to make people forget about Donnarumma. Maignan just wants to work hard and achieve success.


Maignan with Les Bleus

Maignan has also represented France from the U16-U21 levels beginning in 2010, and was captain of the France U17 team at the U17 Euros in 2012. His first call up for France's senior national team was in 2019, and he had one cap for Les Bleus last October. He is one of the keepers called up by Deschamps for the Euros, although he is likely the second or third choice goalkeeper behind Lloris and perhaps Mandanda. (Keep in mind that Deschamps has consistently ignored Theo Hernandez for France, so perhaps Maignan should be above third choice, based on the coach's poor judgment.)


I believe Maignan has already met Calhanoglu

Maignan differs from Donnarumma, who originally struggled with his feet. The French keeper has said the modern keepers need to play with their feet as well as with their hands, and that he likes to play the ball with his feet. He is also aware the Serie A is a more tactical league, and that the workouts are more physical. He says that he watched Milan play growing up, and that he also spoke with Juventus' Adrien Rabiot about Serie A before making his decision to join Milan.


Hanging with Rabiot in 2015, Maignan had excellent taste


The goalkeeper admits that he only knows a few words of Italian, but will focus on the language after the Euros. Certainly, he will have no problem speaking with many of his new teammates, as Kessie, Theo Hernandez, Kalulu, Meite, Bennacer, and Saelemaekers all speak native French, and other players likely also speak French as well. In fact, there are so many French speakers in the team right now, and with zero players called up for the Italian national team this summer, they may as well speak French in training. Likely, he will direct his teammates in French, at least for a while.


Ready to roar

Apparently, no one warned him about Milan fans, because he said he is excited to "experience the passion of the Rossoneri fans." He probably should have talked to Donnarumma about that. Maignan noted that being at Milan is a reward for him, for all of his hard work. Milan have rewarded him with a five year contract, which would theoretically keep him at the club until he is 30 years old. He will wear the number 16 jersey, his first and favorite jersey number. He said he likes the sound of "M-M-seize" (French for M-M-16,) and all of his social media accounts reflect that.


"M-M-seize"

Maignan was convinced by Maldini and Massara when they explained the Milan project. While it remains to be seen if his skills transfer over to Serie A, which is more difficult than Ligue 1, he should fit into the team nicely with our French-speaking contingency. Replacing Donnarumma was an incredible coup by Maldini, and Maignan looks to be part of our French revolution.


This post inspired by the music of The Beatles' "Revolution"


Mike Maignan: French Revolution Mike Maignan: French Revolution Reviewed by Elaine on 11:00 PM Rating: 5
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