With the departures of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris St. Germain in 2012 there was a real belief that this was a seminal moment in Milan’s history. The departure of the Rossoneri’s two best players was a gut punch that signalled the beginning of a long run of mediocrity for one of European football’s marquee names. The signing of Leonardo Bonucci is the true identifiable end point to the cycle that commenced with the sales of 2012. Much like those key sales, the arrival of Bonucci is a seminal moment in Milan’s history, and is the moment we will look back on and pinpoint as the start of the Rossoneri’s revival.
With the signing of Leonardo Bonucci, Milan have done the unthinkable. They have signed an undeniably world class player at a time where they shouldn’t be able to. Another season without Champions League football looked like it meant that Milan would have to put off making “capital B, big” signings for at least another transfer window. However, with Fassone and Mirabelli’s gumption and tenacity Milan have attracted a legitimate superstar, and a player who almost immediately changes the perception of the club world wide.
While it was impressive that Milan were signing high level players like Andre Silva and Ricardo Rodriguez, those were moves a host of clubs could have made. Signing Leonardo Bonucci is a move that would have been a pipe dream to any club let alone a precious few. The fact that Milan were able to pull this off speaks to their ambition, financial backing, and long-term vision.
After years of free transfers and loan signings this acquisition has effectively put Milan back on the map and acts as a warning to all that Milan are back amongst the big boys. Obviously this perception means nothing if results do not follow, but the fact that Milan were able to scoop up one of the best players in the world, from their domestic rivals no less shows that Milan are back.
Just like the sales of Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva acted as a seminal moment in Milan’s history, the Bonucci signing looks to do the same for different reasons. With the arrival of Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus Milanisti can truly start to dream again. Congratulations Milanisti, the real Rossoneri have returned.