Leonardo Bonucci has been heavily linked with a departure from AC Milan during the summer transfer window. And while the club is in better hands, ownership wise, than it was last year, it’s been reported that Bonucci wants a move away. So should Milan stand firm and resist a sale of their captain and most experienced defender? Or should Milan cash out and let Bonucci go to PSG for a €40 million transfer fee?
On the sporting merits alone, keeping Bonucci would be the smart thing to do. There are a lot of young players and having someone with the experience and pedigree of Bonucci around would provide valuable help towards solidifying the team. However, if Bonucci is bound and determined to leave, then keeping him at Milan might become untenable.
Paris Saint-Germain is rumoured to not only be willing to meet the €40 million price tag that Milan has placed on Bonucci, but they are also reportedly going to offer Bonucci €10 million a season to play in France, which is a significant raise on his reported Milan base salary of €7.5 million.
PSG already shelled out a significant amount of money to sign Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon from Juventus, and it looks like they are targeting additional defensive and goalkeeping support from Serie A after loading up on attacking talent last season. Bonucci would join Buffon, his longtime teammate at Juve, by making the move to Ligue 1. PSG are fueled by petrodollars, so money isn’t really a concern for the club.
Bonucci joined Milan from Juventus in a deal that was around €42 million last summer, so Milan will recover most of the transfer fee paid to land him. Milan have appeared to be unwilling to pay transfer fees so far this season, so perhaps selling Bonucci will allow the team to invest in other players and fill a few holes in the lineup.
On the surface, selling a 31 year-old player for €40 million is a pretty good deal. It’s not ideal to be selling your captain and one of the few experienced central defenders on the club, but these aren’t ideal times for Milan. Cashing out on Bonucci may make financial sense, especially if Bonucci wants to make the move to Milan and if Marco Fassone and Massmiliano Mirabelli are unable to match the reported wages available at PSG.
At the very least, a good defender should be spent with a good chunk of the money from any sale of Bonucci. While it would be almost impossible to replace his experience, a younger signing that could challenge for a spot on the Milan backline and has the possibility of becoming a good defender would be a good investment.
Selling Bonucci might be an unpleasant reality for Milan, but money always talks in these kinds of deals. He still has a lot to offer the first team at Milan, but if he wants to leave, then Mirabelli, Fassone and Gennaro Gattuso shouldn’t stand in his way.