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Leonardo Bonucci will not be leaving AC Milan this summer according to CEO Marco Fassone

Manchester United were reportedly interested in Leonardo Bonucci a few days ago after it transpired that the Italian could leave AC Milan this summer following the ban on European competition enforced by UEFA after the club breached Financial Fair Play regulations.

AC Milan CEO Marco Fassone has used the Italian media to publicly rule out the option of the Italian, who signed for the club a year ago for a £35 million fee from Juventus, leaving the club this summer. Fassone has insisted that the Italian club were under no pressure to sell the 31-year-old this summer. Reported by the Manchester Evening News, Fassone is quoted as saying:

“Leo is our captain, he is not one of the players we are discussing or negotiating. He is one of the team’s strong points and he will stay with us for a long time.”

United manager Jose Mourinho has been seeking an experienced leader for the central defence. Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld has been long reported as the solution but with Spurs seemingly holding out for more than £70 million to part with the Belgian defender this summer, who has a clause in his contract to leave for just £25 million next summer, a deal seems a long way off from becoming a reality.

United have also been linked to Jerome Boateng of Bayern Munich who had previously suggested he could be up for a new challenge this summer and the Bavarian club suggested that it would take an offer of £43 million or more for them to part with the German international, who was on the sidelines to see his side eliminated from the FIFA World Cup last week. So far this summer, any player the club has held an interest has become costly.

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly was suggested to be another option to Alderweireld but the Italian club were said to not be keen on selling the player, also demanding a high fee for his services. When United are interested in players of a certain position, the transfer fee of the said players tends to become massive fees as United are able to afford to pay them.

However, with Daley Blind linked to a possible return to Ajax this summer, there will most likely be a place in the team for a new arrival. Mourinho has spent upwards of £61 million on both Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof in his two summer transfer windows so far, the former showing his abilities despite suffering a recurrent injury last season and failing to get into the squad for the final match of last season, the Emirates FA Cup final, which United lost 1-0.

Having both Chris Smalling and Phil Jones at the club has started to become a liability, despite Smalling finishing the season in much better form that he had started but Jones, an injury liability, despite a few strong performances at times, became liability once again, seemingly continuing to do so for England at the World Cup in his only appearance against Belgium, a match England lost last week.

It will be important for Mourinho to find a leader at the back this summer, someone who can lead and command his defence. Someone like Nemanja Vidic or Rio Ferdinand. If a player such as Bailly of Lindelof can do this, the latter has been strong in the World Cup for Sweden, earning a place in the quarter-finals after his country beat Switzerland on Tuesday afternoon, perhaps that leader could already be at the club. Heading into the new season with both Smalling and Jones could well be another calamity in the making.

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.

copyright: JW