Italian national team veteran and current AC Milan captain, Leonardo Bonucci, has become the latest target of Manchester United, according to Tuttosport in Italy.
The 31-year-old center back has reportedly been in talks with Red Devils manager, Jose Mourinho, who is looking to increase his solid but injury-prone back line. The ‘Special One’ has called Bonucci about his services.
Without Bonucci, United managed to record an overall defensive performance to remember, thanks to goalkeeper David De Gea. United conceded just 28 goals and 19 clean sheets in 38 matches played during the 2017/18 campaign. The 28 goals allowed were second least behind Premier League Champions, Manchester City (27).
Milan claimed that they will not accept anything less than €40 million (£35 million) for Bonucci, which would offset the price that Juventus received from Milan last summer.
Bonucci’s move to England could mark the first time the defender represents a club outside of Italy. The man in the number 19 shirt enjoyed a seven-year stint at Juventus after contracts with Viterbese, Treviso, Pisa and Inter Milan.
What this means?
Should the Italian defender make the move to Old Trafford, a few positional rivals may feel their position in the squad will be in jeopardy. Defenders like Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelöf could struggle for playing time next season.
Smalling won’t be happy about the potential move as the current United center back has been left out of the England national team provisional squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup by manager Gareth Southgate. Smalling made 29 appearances for the Reds this season, earning 11 clean sheets, scoring four goals.
As for Lindelöf, his subtle 17 appearances for Mourinho’s side may decrease with the arrival of Leonardo Bonucci. After transferring to Manchester United from Portgual-side, Benfica, the Sweedish 23-year-old may find a comfortable seat on the bench.
Other moving parts.
The defense is not the only active department in Manchester. Mourinho will look to persuade current players and French internationals, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, not to leave Manchester this summer.