2010 Transfer Target Player Profiles: Leonardo Bonucci

Bari

With Fabio all set for his Dubai adventure next season, Marotta can’t hide the fact that he’ll be interested in some reinforcements for our backline during the summer transfer window. After a season where Juventus tied a club record for domestic losses, and conceded more goals than the relegated side from Bergamo, finding a suitable partner for Chiellini in the middle of our defense must be a top priority. According to the latest rumours, the now Bari owned Italian international, Leonardo Bonucci is once again leading the pack. So without further ado, here is the young centre-back’s profile.

Born May 1st 1987 in Viterbo, a township in the Lazio region of central Italy, Leonardo Bonucci began his professional career with local Serie D side A.S. Viterbese Calcio when he was seventeen years old. A year later, Bonucci was loaned to Inter in the summer of 2005. He then became a member of their primavera team after having played a few pre-season friendlies with their first team. Towards the end of the 2005-06 season, Leonardo made his Serie A debut in the last match of the year against Cagliari where they tied 2-2. At the end of the season, Inter bought Bonucci outright.

In January 2007, Serie B side Treviso was sold half of Bonucci’s rights but the young central defender remained with Inter’s primavera squad. In what would turn out to be his last season with Inter’s youth team, Leonardo helped his side win the Primavera Coppa Italia in 2006-07. Then, in a move that saw Treviso sell Inter the second half of Robert Acquafresca’s rights, Inter sold Treviso the rest of the rights to Bonucci, plus two other prospects on July 1st 2007.

In the following season with Treviso, Bonucci appeared in 27 matches and managed to find the back of the net twice. Then in June 2008, Inter bought Bonucci’s registration rights outright, for the second time. He remained at Treviso on loan for half of the 2008-09 season before joining the then Serie B side Pisa during the winter transfer period. While playing the second half of the year for Pisa, he was coached by none other than Bari’s future head coach, Giampiero Ventura.

That summer, after his brief spell at Pisa, the 6ft 3in centre-back was transferred to Genoa alongside Robert Acquafresca, Francesco Bolzoni, and Riccardo Meggiorini, as part of the deal that sent Thiago Motta and Diego Milito to Inter on July 1st 2009. A deal that’s currently being investigated by the FIGC. Shortly thereafter however, Leonardo was transferred to newly promoted Bari from Genoa, on a co-ownership deal, along with Meggiorini (co-ownership deal), Matteo Paro (co-ownership deal), Andrea Ranocchia (loan), and Giuseppe Greco (loan), and was re-united with his former head coach from Pisa.

There at Bari, he formed a strong partnership with fellow central defender Andrea Ranocchia, and half way through the 2009-10 season, the Serie A newcomers enjoyed the second best defensive record throughout the peninsula. Unfortunately, as the saying goes ‘it takes two to tango’, so when Bonucci’s defensive partner suffered a season ending knee injury in January, things weren’t quite the same. Nonetheless to Leonardo’s credit, he earned his first call-up from Italy in February 2010 during a friendly against Cameroon, and in June 2010 he was named to Lippi’s final squad headed to the World Cup in South Africa.

The young centre-back wasn’t featured in any of Italy’s group games at the World Cup, but still the talk of his future was far and wide. On the final day of the co-ownership agreement deadline, Bari purchased the rest of his rights from Genoa for €7.5 million. However, things might just be beginning to heat up as according to reports, Leonardo could be on his way to Juventus very shortly for €14 million, in addition to the services of Sergio Almiron on co-ownership heading to Bari for at least the next two seasons. Subsequently, seeing as Juventus just sold the rest of their rights to Domenico Criscito for €6 million, the move to secure another promising defender in Criscito’s place is probably next to complete.

Bonucci Chiellini

IERI... OGGI... DOMANI... SEMPRE JUVE!!!

2010 Transfer Target Player Profiles and Other Links:

#1- Milos Krasic
#2- Simone Pepe
#3- Jorge Martinez
#4- Leonardo Bonucci

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