Leonardo Bonucci will not start working at AS Roma after all, according to reports La Gazzetta dello Sport. The now 36-year-old Italian has been found too expensive by the Friedkin Group, the owner of the Romans.
Bonucci made the transfer-free transfer from Juventus to 1. FC Union Berlin last summer. The 121-time international has played ten times for the club from the capital of Germany to date. When fit, Bonucci alternates between bench and base.
Roma would have liked to welcome Bonucci, as coach José Mourinho works with a thin selection. Moreover, the Portuguese almost always fields three centre-backs, which puts a lot of strain on that line.
Partly due to Chris Smalling's knee injury, Mourinho would like to have an extra centre-back. In addition, regular starter Evan Ndicka will participate with Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup, which will be held in Ivory Coast from January 13 to February 11.
A deal between Roma and Bonucci seemed to be close. Alessandro Lucci, Bonucci's agent, had reportedly already reached an agreement with technical director Tiago Pinto on a contract until the end of the season. Bonucci would earn 800,000 euros during that period.
However, a deal is most likely not going to happen. The Friedkin Group has pulled the plug on the negotiations. Bonucci would cost around two million euros, including taxes and other additional bills, and that is too expensive for the club for a player who turns 37 in May. The club prefers to invest that money in a player who can fetch a nice transfer fee in the future.
Roma has a very limited budget and almost got into trouble with the Financial Fair Play rules last summer. Roma had to raise 30 million euros in revenue by June 30 and they just about succeeded, avoiding serious punishment.
Roma's three-man defense usually consists of Gianluca Mancini, Diego Llorente and Ndicka. Mourinho normally also has Smalling and Marash Kumbulla at his disposal, but they are currently injured. Roma will face Feyenoord twice in the interim round of the Europa League in February. The winner of the diptych qualifies for the eighth finals of the second European club tournament.
More sports news