The rumor seemed to come out of nowhere: Milan are interested in signing Leonardo Bonucci. It sounded like one of those rumors when you first hear it, you just brush it aside. There are plenty of meaningless rumors this time of the year. However, this rumor has started to gain some traction. More and more credible news sources started reporting about this possibility.
Juve’s policy is simple: If a player expresses their desire to leave the club, as long as an adequate deal can be reached, they won’t force the player to stay. In other words, if Bonucci wants to join Milan, Juve will show him the door. Juventus are asking for €40 million for the Italian international, a price Milan will have to meet. Juventus are interested in Mattia De Sciglio, so something could be worked out with his inclusion.
There are some factors to consider with this Bonucci-Milan-Juventus triangle. While Bonucci and Allegri don’t have a horrible relationship, they don’t have the greatest one. Allegri benched Bonucci in the second leg of the Champions League matchup against Porto. There was some more controversy after the Champions League final loss to Real Madrid. In other words, Allegri may not be working 100% to convince Bonucci to stay.
Another factor to consider is, can Juventus truly afford to lose Bonucci? The Bianconeri’s mindset has not changed: 1) win the scudetto 2) compete for the Champions League. Selling Bonucci by no means helps them to accomplish these goals. Bonucci is their best defender and most important. No defender started more games for Juventus last season than Bonucci. Andrea Barzagli, to no fault of his own, just can’t give Juventus 30+ games. He only played in 23 Serie A games this season, a little more than half and he played in 11 Champions League games. Barzagli is certainly heading towards the end of his career. Chiellini is not all that reliable either anymore, given his history of injuries. Juventus have Medhi Benatia and Daniele Rugani on their roster, but is Allegri ready to rely on them to make a significant contribution? Of course, Juventus could sign a top defender to replace Bonucci, but do they want to spend money in a position that they do have Rugani and Caldara coming up in the future.
Milan have had a great mercato so far, adding numerous talented players and vastly improving their roster. Adding a player of Bonucci’s caliber only helps them and it would be a significant signing. He is someone that all their young players can learn from, and in particular Alessio Romagnoli. I am by no means saying that if Milan sign Leonardo Bonucci, that they become the favorites to win the scudetto, but it does throw them into the conversation. I would still put Juventus and Napoli ahead of them, but Milan would become a much more interesting side.
I’ve heard people talk about, why would Bonucci leave Juventus for Milan, when he turned down Chelsea and Manchester City last summer. There are many reasons for this. Bonucci might have not wanted to leave Juventus last summer, he wanted to make one more run at the Champions League with them. Perhaps playing abroad doesn’t appeal to Bonucci. He also has a young son, who has had well-documented health issues and he wants to stay in Italy for that reason. This “New Milan” may be a project and new challenge that is highly appealing to Bonucci.
Let’s wait and see what transpires from all of this. Will Juventus lose one of their best players and leaders? Can Milan add a champion to a team hungry to make a splash this season?