Is Leonardo Bonucci Manchester United’s New Main Defensive Target?


Manchester United have been linked with a few central defenders this summer as Jose Mourinho looks to rebuild his team’s backline.

Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane has been a long-term target, but would the Champions League champions really sell the Frenchman?

Toby Alderweireld’s continued contract stand-off with Tottenham Hotspur has seen United linked with a move for the Belgian international. Will Man Utd reach a deal with a notoriously difficult Daniel Levy? That remains to be seen.

Reports recently suggest that Mourinho and United had slapped in a bid for Inter Milan star Milan Skriniar. The Slovakian international has been quick to dispel those rumours and state his intention in staying in Italy:

“I am very happy with the way we finished off the season,” 

“I don’t know about any offers, but I want to stay at Inter.”

Now the press have come forward with a new defensive name that could be interesting Mourinho.

That man is Italian centre-back Leonardo Bonucci.

Now I can see why the links have arrived, Bonucci is a world class defender after all.

He’s vastly experienced, a proven winner and a smart player at the back. Those are all qualities that Mourinho admires in a player.

Then there’s the fact that AC Milan have been told that they can’t play in Europe next season due to them breaching UEFA’s financial fair play rules.

That’s got the English media thinking that some kind of cut-price deal can be made.

Now that’s not necessarily the correct conclusion.

Selling Bonucci won’t get Milan back into the Europa League. Plus they’ve got other talent that they can sell this summer; with Suso, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Alessio Romagnoli all generating interest in this transfer window.

Then you have Leonardo himself.

The defender could’ve left Italy a few times previously, certainly last summer. His former club Juventus would’ve received more money for the thirty-one year old had they sold him to any foreign side and there was plenty of interest. The fact is that the central defender wanted to stay in his homeland.

He’s a huge family man and he didn’t want to uproot them away from Northern Italy and I’m not sure he’d be any keener to do it this summer. In fact, if Milan do need to sell Bonucci then I’d imagine he’d insist on going to another Serie A club. It’s not uncommon to see a good Italian player play for a few of the top sides in their top flight, Roberto Baggio and Christian Vieri instantly spring to mind!

I’m also not convinced that the Italian international is the type of defender that Jose needs at Old Trafford.

Bonucci is more settled and performs at his best in a back three, while the Portuguese boss goes with back four. The Milan man is also not a dominating centre-half, he’s one that is intelligent and plays out of the back. I think Man United need a physical stopper more in the mould of former Red Devils hero Nemanja Vidic, that’s why the move for Skriniar made sense.

It will be interesting to see what central defender joins Mourinho at Old Trafford. I’ll be very surprised if it’s Leonardo Bonnuci but then again I’ve been surprised plenty of times in the past.

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