Leonardo Bonucci is now a Milan player. His contract will run until 2022 and Bonucci will become one of the highest paid players in Serie A. The Italian defender won 6 scudetti, 3 Coppe Italia, and 3 Italian Super Cups while at Juventus. Now that adventure is over and a new one is ready to begin. So what does this Bonucci move tell us about Milan and Juventus? How does it impact other Serie A clubs? Let’s dive in.
We will start with the Rossoneri. Milan and their new ownership group set out on a mission to have a great transfer market and create a competitive team. They have had a great mercato and now the addition of Bonucci puts an exclamation point on it. Not only are Milan adding one of the best defenders in the world, they are also getting a leader, competitor, and most importantly a champion. He can take Romagnoli, Andrea Conti, Donnarumma, and other young players under his wing and show them what it takes to become a champion. Milan are also going to make Bonucci their captain, they are really going all-in with him. I’m sure other clubs were interested in Bonucci, especially if they knew Juventus were willing to sell him. The fact that Bonucci wanted to join Milan speaks volume to the confidence he has in the new ownership group. Bonucci wanted a new adventure and challenge, believe me, he is not going to Milan to just collect a paycheck. So this means that Bonucci believes in this “New Milan” and that they can compete for the scudetto in the near future. Other players may look at Milan differently now and think, “If they could get Bonucci away from Juve, perhaps they are building something special”.
On the field, how does the addition of Leonardo Bonucci impact Milan? For one, like I mentioned before, they added one of the best defenders in the world, that’s always a good thing. With Bonucci, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Andrea Conti, and Ricardo Rodriguez; Vincenzo Montella may look to use a 3-5-2 formation. Bonucci is the perfect man to have anchored in the middle of the defense. A 3-5-2 formation also allows for Andrea Conti and Ricardo Rodriguez to make a greater impact in the offensive phase of the game, an area in which both players shine. It seems that this Milan are able to sign just about whoever they want and will do whatever it takes. They are strongly pursuing Aubameyang and there is no reason to believe that they won’t sign him. In a matter of a few weeks, Milan have turned themselves into scudetto contenders, a remarkable turn around for the Rossoneri. You may be someone who still doesn’t believe Milan are scudetto contenders, you are entitled to your opinion. However, you can’t deny that they are legitimate contenders to finish in a Champions League spot.
Let’s talk about Juventus now. Bonucci wanting to leave Juventus tells you there was a fractured relationship between he and Allegri. Perhaps that fractured relationship runs even deeper than just with Allegri. At least publicly, Juventus put up no fight or effort to keep Bonucci or convince him to change his mind. The Bianconeri seemed like they couldn’t wait to get rid of Leonardo, as if they were hoping this would happen. Any Juventus fans that are upset at Bonucci should equally put blame on their club’s management. If there were genuine issues between Bonucci and Allegri, and perhaps with some teammates, then this could be a case of addition by subtraction. Juventus have been great over the past six seasons, but they have had trouble holding onto some of their star players: Tevez, Vidal, Pogba, and now Bonucci.
On the field, Juventus loses one of the best defenders in the world and one of their most important players. Current central defenders on their roster include: Barzagli, Chiellini, Benatia, and Rugani. The first two are getting up their in age and are not as reliable as they once were. Benatia is a solid defender, but he’s not at Bonucci’s level. No one is denying Rugani’s talent and potential, but are Juventus ready to commit to him and believe that they can still compete for the Champions League title? Of course, Juventus could go out and sign a big time defender. But, are they going to spend a significant amount of money on a defender when they are just a year or two away from turning those jobs over to Rugani and Caldara?
How does Bonucci joining Milan impact the rest of Serie A? Losing Bonucci weakens Juventus, which benefits Napoli. Entering this season, Napoli are the biggest threat to Juve, and Milan are gaining steam. De Laurentiis and Sarri have to see Bonucci leaving Juventus and be smiling about it. Inter and their fans must be wondering how Milan are able to convince all these players to join their club. The Nerazzurri have talent on their roster and should be better than what they were last season, but Milan have increased the gap over their city rivals. We have seen Roma sell a few key players this summer and they don’t seem to be as strong as they were last year. With a much stronger Milan side, it will be much more difficult for Roma to finish in the top 3, something they’ve done in each of the past four seasons.
On a personal level, one of Bonucci’s sons, Lorenzo, is huge Andrea Belotti fan. We’ve all seen the photo of how upset Lorenzo was during Juve’s scudetto celebration. His dad plays for the rival team to Belotti’s Torino. With Bonucci at Milan now, I’m sure Lorenzo is a lot happier.
Leonardo Bonucci is yet another great addition by Milan and a significant loss for Juventus. We shall see how the move impacts the standings this upcoming season. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for that Juventus-Milan game in Turin, should be electric.