In a summer where Juventus has swooped in and signed arguably the biggest name in the game today, we can now add a reunion that never seemed likely at all two weeks ago to the list.
Leonardo Bonucci is a Juventus player once again all of 12 1⁄2 months after his high-profile move from the Italian champions to one of their biggest rivals, Milan. To make all of this possible, Juve have sent their best young prospect, 24-year-old defender Mattia Caldara, and Serie A’s single-season goal-scoring record holder, Gonzalo Higuain, in the other direction to create one of the biggest swap deals the club has ever pulled off.
The official wording of the deal, courtesy of the Juventus press office:
Turin, 2 August 2018 - Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that these agreements have been finalized with A.C. Milan S.p.A.:
• temporary transfer of the registration rights of the player Gonzalo Gerardo Higuain for a consideration of € 18 million to be paid in 2018/2019 financial year. The agreement also provides A.C. Milan S.p.A. the option right, to be exercised at the end of 2018/2019 football season, for the definitive acquisition of the player at a price of € 36 million to be paid in two financial years;
• definitive acquisition of the registration rights of the player Leonardo Bonucci for a consideration of € 35 million payable in two financial years. Juventus and the player have signed a 5-year contract of employment until 30 June 2023;
• definitive disposal of the registration rights of the player Mattia Caldara for a consideration of € 35 million to be paid in two financial years. The economic effect is positive for about € 22 million.
If you had asked me around March or April about players I thought would be wearing a Juventus jersey come the start of next season, two of the least likely options would have been Cristiano Ronaldo and Leonardo Bonucci. One reason was very much different than the other, but as we sit here with the first weekend of August nearly upon us, both of those players are going to be in the same starting lineup come a few weeks from now.
It’s pretty easy which move got pretty much nothing but praise and which one will be under the microscope for a variety of reasons the first couple of months of the brand new season. Ronaldo’s arrival brought plenty of enthusiasm and optimism about Juve’s objectives in Europe, while the reacquisition of Bonucci has brought out a whole lot of ill-will based off the past 12 months when he was at Milan and what Beppe Marotta and his cohorts have given up to bring Leo back to Turin.
But now, Bonucci is back.
Seriously, this is not a drill.
On July, 14, 2017, Bonucci was announced as a Milan player.
On Aug. 2, 2018, Bonucci has been announced as a Juventus player again.
It’s been a wild 12-plus months — and who knows where this wild ride will actually end.