Manchester United Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Leonardo Bonucci

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2018

AC Milan's defender Leonardo Bonucci looks dejected at the end of the Italian Tim Cup (Coppa Italia) final Juventus vs AC Milan at the Olympic stadium on May 9, 2018 in Rome. - Juventus crushed AC Milan 4-0 on today at the Stadio Olimpico to win a fourth consecutive Italian Cup. Mehdi Benatia opened the floodgates after 56 minutes for the first of a double of the night for the Moroccan with Douglas Costa also finding the net in the space of nine minutes. A Nikola Kalinic own goal accounted for the fourth (Photo by Isabella Bonotto / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ISABELLA BONOTTO/AFP/Getty Images)
ISABELLA BONOTTO/Getty Images

AC Milan will reportedly resist any attempts made by other clubs to sign star defender Leonardo Bonucci amid speculation Manchester United are interested in the player.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Tom Coast of Sport Witness), the San Siro club is set for a busy summer transfer window, although four players are said to be considered indispensable; Bonucci is one of that quartet.

Here's a look at how the story was covered:

On Wednesday, Tuttosport reported that Old Trafford could be a destination for the defender this offseason after United boss Jose Mourinho made it clear to Bonucci he wants to sign him (h/t Sport Witness).

Tuttosport reported Milan would be willing to accept a €40 million (£35 million) fee for the centre-back, while a loan move with an obligation to buy was also mentioned.

For Milan, selling Bonucci would be a big surprise, as they worked so hard last summer to land the defender from Juventus. Given the player's association and success with the Bianconeri, many were shocked at his decision to make the switch to the San Siro.

It's been a year of ups and downs for Milan.
It's been a year of ups and downs for Milan.MIGUEL MEDINA/Getty Images

Bonucci was part of a massive transfer drive at Milan. The recruitment of a number of key players failed to spark the team into life, though, costing Vincenzo Montella his job. But after an initial revival under successor Gennaro Gattuso, they can finish no higher than sixth position in Serie A.

Individually, Bonucci's season was full of ups and downs, although as OptaPaolo noted, the 31-year-old did pass a milestone:

Before the last summer's transfer, many would have said Bonucci was the best centre-back in world football. His stock has fallen since then.

Much of that is down to the systemic issues at Milan and the issues of integrating so many new faces into a squad. Bonucci has played in different formations alongside different defensive partners and has found it tough.

As we can see, courtesy of WhoScored.com, he's been outperformed by his former team-mates in 2017-18:

Still, at Juventus, he proved he was an elite footballer, able to read the game, win physical battles and distribute from deep positions. In a more settled team with more quality around him, he would surely recapture the form that made him so revered.

United would undoubtedly benefit from that type of presence. While the team's defensive record has been good this season, that's largely due to the exploits of David De Gea between the sticks. Mourinho doesn't appear to have settled on a preferred centre-back pairing this season, either.

While Milan are not in the UEFA Champions League and on the brink of another summer of transition, it would be a big shock if they did allow Bonucci to move elsewhere, especially for the relatively meagre amount mentioned in the report.

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