Juventus have reportedly agreed to sell Leonardo Bonucci to Milan for €40m.
The decision to let go one of the best, if not the best, defenders in the world, is puzzling.
In the summer of 2016, Chelsea, with Antonio Conte freshly appointed as their manager, tried to sign Bonucci – it failed.
Man City, a team in bad need for strong defenders, also unsuccessfully attempted to buy him from Juventus despite offering a cool €70m.
So why, for a far inferior amount of money than City’s bid last year, have Juventus agreed to sell Leo to a domestic rival?
The answer may be found in the irritation Bonucci seems to have with his manager.
Back in February, Bonucci had a much-documented spat with Massimiliano Allegri.
As Juve cruised to a 4-1 win over hapless Palermo, Allegri made late-game changes which infuriated Bonucci.
Allegri told him to shut up and fuck off, Bonucci told his manager to go to hell. http://www.goal.com/en/news/723/serie-a/2017/02/18/32822502/shut-up-dickhead-juventus-boss-allegri-rants-at-bonucci-in
The defender was left out of the team the following week, with Allegri explaining the matter had been resolved internally and that Bonucci had accepted his sanction.
But these differences re-surfaced when Juventus lost the Champions League final, one pundits – especially in Italy – thought the Bianconeri could win.
Juve was no match for a brutally efficient Real Madrid side, which looked superior in all departments, had more pace and, despite their having won the competition 11 times already, more hunger for victory.
That evening, Juventus’s usually confident and Great Wall-like defence was exposed like a bunch of burros.
Balls were given away, lost, passes were miscued, and the thrust the team normally enjoys when it attacks was not there – because Juve’s defence was so under pressure and, by the end of the game, very low down the pitch.
The Juventus defence lost its protection due to their midfield colleague’s nightmarish second half, overwhelmed by Real Madrid, and the so-far undetected defensive inaptitude of wing players, who never have to deal with players like Cristiano Ronaldo in the Serie A. https://www.thetacticsroom.com/articles/2017/6/5/juventus-1-4-real-madrid-a-tactical-analysis
After the final whistle was blown in Cardiff, tensions flared up in the Juve locker room, with Allegri and Bonucci reportedly trading insults again.
We may know in the coming weeks when Bonucci trots off with his new red-and-black jersey on what exactly happened – yet the question remains: just how much has Juve been damaged by that infamous Welsh evening?
While the Bonucci sale is sure to raise a few eyebrows, the focus should be on Allegri – but it’s not.
Is he the man to steer Juventus to the Champions League? Has he got what it takes? And, perhaps, more importantly, has the current Juve squad the stuff to bring the big-eared cup to Turin?
Benignly, the Italian media has shunned those questions…