Juventus Legend Leonardo Bonucci Reflects on Rejecting £100 Million Premier League Transfer
In a recent interview, Bonucci expressed no regrets about rejecting the enticing offer from Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, a decision that would have made him the most expensive defender in the world eight years ago.
Back in 2016, Manchester City was keenly interested in securing the services of the Italian center-back, and negotiations were reportedly close to reaching a groundbreaking £100 million deal with Juventus. Bonucci shed light on this pivotal moment in his career, stating, "In 2016, Man City and I were close. They offered almost £100 million to Juventus, but together with the club, we decided to continue."
Despite the lucrative offer and the prospect of working under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, Bonucci emphasized that his loyalty to Juventus played a crucial role in his decision-making process. He recalled discussions resurfacing in 2017 when Juventus put him up for sale, yet his attachment to the Turin-based club prevailed.
Bonucci remarked, "Being managed by Guardiola would have been a great achievement because he would have improved me, but I can't complain because I won many trophies, individual awards, and the Euros. I always let my heart dictate me; that's why I stayed at Juventus."
Ultimately, Manchester City pivoted to secure the services of John Stones in 2016, following Juventus' decision to retain Bonucci. Despite the potential move falling through, Bonucci holds high regard for Stones, who stepped into his hypothetical role at the Etihad.
"I struggle to find a deficiency in players like Stones, who have won what he did. He's a leader, reads the game well, has rhythms and is intelligent. He's a technical player and a nasty defender. At City, Guardiola saw a perfect role for him, to be more of a ball-playing defender. He makes mistakes but who doesn't?" Bonucci praised Stones, highlighting his strengths and potential for further improvement.
Acknowledging the subjective nature of evaluating players, Bonucci suggested that fans play a pivotal role in determining a player's status in the footballing world. He continued to laud Stones, asserting, "Stones has done great things and I like him a lot. He's one of the best in the world."
In a surprising twist, Leonardo Bonucci found himself far from the confines of Turin, donning the colors of Union Berlin after bidding farewell to Juventus in the summer of the previous year. The seasoned defender now faces a new challenge in the Bundesliga with Union Berlin, a club currently navigating a precarious position just one point above the relegation zone.
As Bonucci reflects on his career choices and the paths not taken, football enthusiasts are left to ponder the alternate realities that could have unfolded if the Italian maestro had chosen to embark on a Premier League adventure with Manchester City.