Manchester United should be looking into the availability of Leonardo Bonucci this summer


Manchester United are reportedly chasing AC Milan defender Leonardo Bonucci following the Italian clubs ban from European competitions following a breach of Financial Fair Play regulations. The club were due to participate in the UEFA Europa League during the forthcoming season. Bonucci only made the move from Juventus a year ago which is reported to have cost the club £35 million. Now Jose Mourinho, who is seeking an experienced central defender this summer is looking to entice Bonucci to Old Trafford.

Italian news source Gazzetta dello Sport, reported via Football Italia have suggested that United are monitoring the situation and that the club could make a formal offer in the near future. Obviously this speculation but would be something United would need to look at, considering Bonucci was once a target for United, not under the management of Mourinho though. The 31-year-old may not be considered the best option but with the move for Toby Alderweireld stalling with other player linked but rising fees thwarting any possible deal, this could be a great option for United.

It was announced on Wednesday that UEFA had banned the Italian club from the Europa League next season for breaching FFP but it is something the club will appeal against. However, if that ban is upheld, there could well be a mass exodus of players coming from the club in search of top-level football elsewhere. Milan did spend a lot of money last summer, which is why this ban has been enforced. It is a shame that teams like Milan end up getting banned from competitions whereas both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have breached FFP and only been fined.

Bonucci won six Serie A titles in his seven seasons at Juventus and last season, the Rossoneri managed to finish sixth in the league despite spending around £160 million last summer. The Italian defender played 47 times for Milan last season, once from the bench, scoring twice and assisting once in over 3,800 minutes of football. Bonucci is a strong passer of the ball but is considered weak at tackling based on the past season. He likes to play long balls, playing the ball off the ground and does not dive into tackles.

In terms of experience, Bonucci has plenty, which is something United will be seeking this summer having just Phil Jones and Chris Smalling who have been at the club the longest in terms of central defenders, neither classed as a leader at the back, which was something Mourinho will be seeking and something Bonucci has been praised for in the past. Age wise, Bonucci is older than Alderweireld and will turn 32 on the 1st May 2019 with the Belgian turning 30 in March. Bonucci has played 472 club matches, scoring 27 goals – 19 of which were scored whilst at Juventus.

At international level, Bonucci has played 80 times for Italy, scoring six goals. He’s won the Serie A seven times, once with Inter Milan, also winning the Coppa Italia three times and the Supercoppa Italiana three times. He twice made it to the UEFA Champions League final, Juventus losing both times. For Italy, Bonucci was part of the side which were the runners-up in Euro 2012, also coming third in the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013.

Bonucci was once a midfielder but was then deployed as the ball playing defender in a back three, which is something Mourinho could adopt with United during the upcoming season, testing the formation at various times in his two-year career at the club. The Italian can also play in a back four, either in a central position or out wide, which shows Mourinho could have other options with him in the team. In 2012, Bonucci was named as the 88th best player in the world and was dubbed as Beckenbonucci in 2016 – a reference to Franz Beckenbauer.

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