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Tuesday July 31 2018
Should Juventus take Bonucci back?

Juventus should think twice about swapping Mattia Caldara for Leonardo Bonucci, writes Anthony Barbagallo.

While Juventus have been keeping active in this summer transfer window rebuilding a new-look side for the future, it appears a return for Leonardo Bonucci is very much in the pipeline. But is it worth Juve giving up Mattia Caldara - one of Italy’s brightest prospects - to re-sign a 31-year-old defender?

Bonucci stunned Juve before the start of last season by joining Serie A rivals AC Milan for a fee of €42 million, this left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Bianconeri. The departure came as a shock after the centre-back played a pivotal role in the core of the Juventus defence for seven years - helping win six consecutive Serie A Scudetti, three Coppa Italia titles and reaching two Champions League finals in three years.

But since the 4-1 loss to Real Madrid last year, the reported halftime bust-up in the final between Bonucci and some of his former teammates only dampened his relationship with the club. If the Old Lady is to re-sign Bonucci, the relationship between the defender, team, Coach and the club’s fans may still be fragile.

Moving to San Siro to transform Milan as Andrea Pirlo had done when moving the other way, the past season didn’t pan out how the Rossoneri captain had envisaged. Milan finished in sixth place in Serie A, crashed out to Arsenal in the Last 16 of the Europa League and ownership problems were brewing behind the scenes.

Set against that backdrop it’s not difficult to comprehend why Bonucci wants a return to Turin. The 2016 Serie A Footballer of the Year wants to be back competing on the domestic and Champions League stages and is even willing to accept a pay cut. However, the Caldara-Bonucci swap doesn’t seem to make sense from a Juventus point of view, especially the part that involves selling Caldara to a direct rival. 

The Bianconeri been lauded for their wisdom when it comes to undertaking transfer business, however, this time Milan could reap the benefits from this proposed deal. Caldara is currently in better form than Bonucci, having been consistently exceptional for Atalanta over the past two seasons. The Italian youngster is tipped to be the long-term replacement for Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli - that’s why the Serie A giants invested in the 24-year-old in 2017. The Bergamo-born defender has already experienced Europa League football with La Dea and is now eyeing the opportunity to ply his trade in this season’s Champions League with his new club.

A quiet achiever, the Atalanta academy product is a complete modern day centre-back most Coaches dream of having at their disposal: strong in clean tackles, good at ball interceptions and a set-piece threat in aerial situations. Why would the Bianconeri want to let go of a defender who boasts great qualities and can hone them alongside none other than veteran defender Chiellini?

The fact that Caldara played exceptionally well for a smaller Serie A club - alongside average defenders - indicates he is a capable leader and adaptable defender. However, Bonucci isn’t as versatile as most calcio fans think. The Italian international has thrived in the past BBC partnership at Juventus and the Azzurri, but this past season suggested that 31-year-old generally struggled without Chiellini and Barzagli by his side.

Bonucci returning to the reigning Serie A champions may bring immediate and short-term success, especially in the club’s quest to claim a third Champions League title. But let’s face it, both Chiellini and Barzagli are not getting any younger and will not be far off from hanging their boots up. If Bonucci moves back to Turin, who will play alongside the Italian when Chiellini and Barzagli leave? Daniele Rugani might be an option, but he too might leave sooner than expected. If this Caldara-Bonucci swap goes ahead, it will only highlight the major issue calcio currently faces - the young Italian talent being pushed aside to accommodate older players.

The safe option for the Bianconeri here would be to keep Caldara and give this talented youngster a chance to prove himself at a high calibre club like Juventus.

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Have your say...
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on the 31st July, 2018 at 1:35pm
What a disgrace judgment made by the Juve management. Marotta you should go work for Milan from now on!
on the 31st July, 2018 at 1:26pm
I do not understand why everyone thinks this is a mistake.

Caldara has done what exactly? Yes, he is good and promising, but good and promising does not mean he will turn into a top player. He could end up like Bonera or Ferrari.

I know it's easy to get excited by young talent, but Bonucci, without doubt, has the experience and physical attributes that Caldara can't match.

Caldara would not be guaranteed first team football at Juve, but at Milan he will. It's a good move for the Azzuri!
on the 31st July, 2018 at 1:21pm
Some people has little understanding on how deals are builtd. This situation is not in control of Juventus because they need to sell Higuain, and they have no offers. Milan has taken advantage for that. Add to the mix Bonucci wants to return AND most important thing: Juventus WANTS him back. So Leonardo is not a fool and asks: OK, you want to sell us Higuain? Fine, but ONLY in our conditions since you have no offers for him. And about Bonucci, fine, but you have to send us Caldara to have Leo.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 1:14pm
I think for Juventus, this transfer is really about offloading Higuain. It looks like Milan is not going to pay 57M for him unless Caldara is somehow involved. Bonucci wants to leave, so they make a smart play to make these two deals. Juventus has no other option it seems
on the 31st July, 2018 at 1:02pm
100% No!!!
on the 31st July, 2018 at 12:55pm
unless there is some last minute occurrence the deal seems to be done. got to see if they implement some buyback clause on caldara. this guy bonucci even celebrated when he scored against. marotta obviously doesn't realise how much juve fans despise this guy. marotta clearly lost his mind
on the 31st July, 2018 at 12:53pm
Totally unacceptable that letting a traitor return by trading one of the most promising new star for Juve and Italy national team. To Milan? Are you freaking kidding me?

WTF is Marotta thinking of?
on the 31st July, 2018 at 12:24pm
Sweet. That is all.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 12:08pm
A horrendous transfer. Makes no sense to take Bonucci back, and even less when giving them a defender that is much more versatile and in much better form. I understand the Higuain trade, as we break even on it and clearly no other team is willing to take him, but to give up the most talented young Italian defender is outright stupid and a gigantic mistake by the Marotta. 80% of Juvetino don’t want to see him in the Bianconeri shirt again. Let him rot in Milan
on the 31st July, 2018 at 11:45am
Please don't sell Caldara for Leo. Bonucci's quality cannot be questioned and he may be able to play for 3-4 years at the top. But giving up Caldara AND Higuain to Milan? WTF, keep Caldara sell Higuain and leave Bonucci at Milan. Dont want him at Juve if it means giving up on Caldara.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 11:34am
Screw Bonucci, Juve fans don't want him back!!!
on the 31st July, 2018 at 11:22am
Seems like his arrival is imminent. Doesn't feel like a good deal, though. Higuain to Milan makes sense as it looks to be the only team of any pedigree looking for an out-and-out striker, but swapping Caldara for Bonucci doesn't make any sense. We'll be stuck with 4 30+ defenders, and only one young defender, Rugani, who every time he has played has seemed like a liability and very error-prone. The only way to get Bonucci back that would make sense would be to swap him with Benatia + 10 mil.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 11:02am
Frankly, i hate to see bonucci back in the black & white jersey. Let caldara stay!
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:55am
Italian Juventini don't want Bonucci back. He happily left us and then celebrated his goal agaisnt us, saying he did so because Juve fans gave him a "frosty reception." And he expected what, cheers? At least Ronaldo had some sadness on display about leaving Real Madrid. Bonucci's displays have been everything insulting and Italians take those insults seriously. Let him rot in Milan. He doesn't deserve trophies with us.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:55am
It’s certainly better for Bonucci. Rough on the prospect youngster as he was promised a future and development with Juve. This is why Italian talent no longer grows/makes world class players. Youth stars get bounced around, loaned out for money,basically treated like fresh hookers. I was hoping to see what he could do.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:52am
I wouldn't. Milan are getting the better deal here from my perspective. From what I have seen, Caldara is already a better defender than Bonucci. Bonucci has the edge in the technical department, and with his passing. Another massive factor is age. Bonucci is at his peak, and will probably play at the top for another 4 years, whereas Caldara is only 24 and will only get even stronger.

It would be great news for the national side having Caldara and Romagnoli playing together.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:47am
I wouldn't. Milan are getting the better deal here from my perspective. From what I have seen, Caldara is already a better defender than Bonucci. Bonucci has the edge in the technical department, and with his passing. Another massive factor is age. Bonucci is at his peak, and will probably play at the top for another 4 years, whereas Caldara is only 24 and will only get even stronger.

It would be great news for the national side having Caldara and Romagnoli playing together.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:46am
Juve have given themselves two years for the CL. Ronaldo is a clear indication of that. The BBC defence works well and so for a two year plan this is great. Beyond that Juve have tremendous appeal and are financially strong so who is to say that in 2 years the defence won't have Bonucci flanked by Caldara and Rugani for yet another fearsome backline.
If Galliani or Mirabelli were at Milan I am sure Juve could have sent Higuain to Milan and returned with Bonucci and 20m. Leo is sharper than that
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:46am
Milan are getting the better deal here from my perspective. From what I have seen, Caldara is already a better defender than Bonucci. Bonucci has the edge in the technical department, and with his passing. Another massive factor is age. Bonucci is at his peak, and will probably play at the top for another 4 years, whereas Caldara is only 24 and will only get even stronger.

It would be great news for the national side having Caldara and Romagnoli playing together.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:44am
It is absolutely baffling that Juve are considering the sale of Rugani and Caldara. They could potentially be the centre-back pairing for Juve and Italy for years to come. It’s a sad fact that bright young Italian talent can’t flourish at Juve, look at Bernadeschi too and countless others before them.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:44am
Milan are getting the better deal here from my perspective. From what I have seen, Caldara is already a better defender than Bonucci. Bonucci has the edge in the technical department, and with his passing. Another massive factor is age. Bonucci is at his peak, and will probably play at the top for another 4 years, whereas Caldara is only 24 and will only get even stronger.

It would be great news for the national side having Caldara and Romagnoli playing together.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:44am
Milan are getting the better deal here from my perspective. From what I have seen, Caldara is already a better defender than Bonucci. Bonucci has the edge in the technical department, and with his passing. Another massive factor is age. Bonucci is at his peak, and will probably play at the top for another 4 years, whereas Caldara is only 24 and will only get even stronger.

It would be great news for the national side having Caldara and Romagnoli playing together.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:43am
...(continued from previous post) Which is why the swap deal is taking so long to get finalized, despite all agreements. They're all waiting for Higuain details to get finalized.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:43am
Milan are getting the better deal here from my perspective. From what I have seen, Caldara is already a better defender than Bonucci. Bonucci has the edge in the technical department, and with his passing. Another massive factor is age. Bonucci is at his peak, and will probably play at the top for another 4 years, whereas Caldara is only 24 and will only get even stronger.

It would be great news for the national side having Caldara and Romagnoli playing together.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:43am
Milan are getting the better deal here from my perspective. From what I have seen, Caldara is already a better defender than Bonucci. Bonucci has the edge in the technical department, and with his passing. Another massive factor is age. Bonucci is at his peak, and will probably play at the top for another 4 years, whereas Caldara is only 24 and will only get even stronger.

It would be great news for the national side having Caldara and Romagnoli playing together.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:43am
The swap deal is on because Milan is the only "real" customer of Higuain. Despite Higuain being a separate deal, according to reliable sources, if the swap deal doesn't go through, Milan would pull out of Higuain.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:41am
Milan are getting the better deal here from my perspective. From what I have seen, Caldara is already a better defender than Bonucci. Bonucci has the edge in the technical department, and with his passing. Another massive factor is age. Bonucci is at his peak, and will probably play at the top for another 4 years, whereas Caldara is only 24 and will only get even stronger.

It would be great news for the national side having Caldara and Romagnoli playing together.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:41am
Feel Milan are getting the slightly better deal here with this one. Genuinely not bothered about Bonucci leaving as I don't think he has shown enough to merit the fee and salary. Potentially a very good/promising spine for Milan with Donnaruma - Caldara/Romagnoli - Locatelli - Cutrone
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:32am
No
on the 31st July, 2018 at 10:14am

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