It’s said Italians age like fine wine, and that is certainly true of their defenders. Baresi, Maldini, Nesta, Cannavaro – just some of the classic Italian defenders who performed at an exceptional standard well into their 30s.
Manchester City appear to agree, with today’s Gazzetta dello Sport claiming they are willing to make a huge investment to sign 29-year-old Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci. Juve have already rejected an offer of £38.2 million for the Italy defender, but that doesn’t seem to have put City off.
According to Gazzetta, City are prepared to make an investment of up to €100 million (£85 million) in fee and salary to prise Bonucci away from Juventus.
This is what his agent, Alessandro Lucci, is in Manchester to work on, claims the report. City’s second offer to Juventus is expected to reach €60 million (£51.1 million), but on top of that the club are willing to pay Bonucci €8 million (£6.8 million) per season over a five-year deal, amounting to €40 million (£34 million).
Bonucci is one of Juventus’ highest paid players, but the €3.7 million-per-year salary he earns there is less than half what City are said to be willing to pay. The Italian newspaper believe that Juventus are in real danger of losing Bonucci to Manchester City, unless they can give their star defender a significant pay rise.
Juventus are known to be tough negotiators and their stance is clear – Bonucci will not be sold. However, City are putting that to to the test. Gazzetta’s report concludes with these words: “Pep has given very clear directions to take home Bonucci at any cost.”