Facing a defensive crisis, AS Roma are considering making a move for Union Berlin centre-back and former Juventus legend Leonardo Bonucci in the January transfer window.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Giallorossi are ready to bring the former Juventus defender back to Serie A after an unhappy six months in the Bundesliga, with the veteran being deemed an experienced and reliable option.
The Italy Men’s National Team captain has struggled to make an impact in Germany and Roma are ready to offer him a route to return to his home country, with a deal made easier by Union Berlin‘s readiness to move him on already.
Roma short of options at the back
Amidst a season marred by inconsistency, Roma are facing more upheaval in early 2024 as defender Evan Ndicka departs for AFCON duty with Ivory Coast whilst Chris Smalling continues to frustrate coach Jose Mourinho with his ongoing knee trouble.
Meanwhile, Marash Kumbulla is set to return to action but will need to build up his fitness after eight months on the sidelines with a serious injury, leaving Gianluca Mancini and Diego Llorente as the only senior options for Mourinho‘s three-man defensive system.
Roma sporting director Tiago Pinto is expected to pursue a centre-back in the January transfer window but funds are limited and the capital club are likely to look for loans or free agents.
Will Bonucci leave Union Berlin and go back in Serie A?
After falling out of favour at Juventus, Bonucci was released in the summer and he made the move to Germany to sign for last season’s surprise package Union Berlin on a one-year deal.
However, being used sparingly in the Bundesliga the defender is seeking a way out and could persuade Union to terminate his contract.
This would facilitate a switch to Roma as a free agent and allow the 36-year-old to earn more regular football in the build-up to Euro 2024.
Roma have monitored RB Salzburg‘s Oumar Solet and Arthur Theate of Rennes, but Bonucci is considered a more achievable addition and Roma are likely to focus their attention on him. Meanwhile, the Giallorossi could also bring in Chelsea defender Trevor Chalobah on loan.
Additional funds could be provided through the sale of wingback Matias Vina in January, with Brazilian club Flamengo keen to snap him up. The Uruguayan, who has spent the first half of the season on loan at Sassuolo, could fetch up to €5 million.