Saturday, December 3, 2022

Manchester City Identify This Italian Defender As A Summer Target: The Right Fit For The Citizens?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by Calciomercato, Manchester City have identified Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci as a summer target and are even willing to give up John Stones so that they can make room for the Italian centre-back. However, the same source has also stated that the Turin giants are not too keen on losing their prized asset during the summer transfer window, which will be a significant stumbling block for the Citizens. It is understood that Man City boss Pep Guardiola is a big admirer of the Viterbo-born talent whose current contract with Juve runs until the summer of 2024 (via Calciomercato).

Bonucci’s Impressive Form At Turin This Season

The former AC Milan centre-half has enjoyed another solid season at the Allianz Stadium after producing a series of commanding displays at the heart of Maurizio Sarri’s defence. He has featured in 34 matches for the Italian outfit this term, finding the back of the net on four occasions across all fronts which highlight his knack for scoring goals from time to time.

On the defensive end, Bonucci has averaged 0.8 tackles, 1.0 interceptions and 3.1 clearances in every 90 minutes of football in the Serie A and the UEFA Champions League this season. He tends to play a lot of long passes but is usually quite accurate with his ball-distribution as evidenced by his average of 5.6 long balls per game and 87.9% pass success rate so far (stats via whoscored).

The 33-year-old is also vastly experienced at the international level and is the current skipper of the Italian national team. He has earned 95 senior caps for Italy, netting seven goals for his country in the process. Bonucci will be expected to play a crucial role for his homeland in next year’s UEFA European Championship finals following the competition’s postponement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manchester City identify Leonardo Bonucci, who is seen in the picture, as a summer target
Juventus’ Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci (R) celebrates with Juventus’ Turkish defender Merih Demiral after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Udinese on December 15, 2019, at the Juventus Allianz stadium in Turin. (Photo by ISABELLA BONOTTO/AFP via Getty Images)

What Will The Italian Defensive Ace Bring To The Table?

Bonucci is an experienced centre-back who has won a lot of trophies during his playing career. He is a natural leader at the back and can use his wisdom to get the better of the opposition attackers when left exposed inside his own half.

The Italian is also a decent tackler and can pull off some vital interceptions and last-gasp clearances for his team. He is not afraid to put his body on the line to block a goal-bound shot but can sometimes find himself in trouble when caught off-guard on the counter because of his lack of pace.

Is Bonucci The Right Fit For The Mancunian Giants?

A defender of Bonucci’s proven track record will be a welcome addition to Guardiola’s squad ahead of the new season. He will not only add some calmness and stability to the Man City backline but also enhance the overall quality of their first-team. The Italian has what it takes to help the Citizens challenge for even more trophies in the coming seasons. Plus, he will be a significant upgrade over John Stones, Eric Garcia and Nicolas Otamendi at the Etihad Stadium.

Bonucci could also serve as an ideal centre-back partner for Aymeric Laporte at the north-west of England. With all things considered, he will be a decent fit for the Mancunian outfit in the short-term as he will be a quick fix to their defensive problems from this campaign.

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