First Gosens, then Volland and now a European champion. Leonardo Bonucci strengthens Union Berlin in central defence. The Iron Land this summer one transfer coup after the other.
It’s the next successful round for Union Berlin in the transfer carousel: The Irons have signed a reigning European champion after Robin Gosens and Kevin Volland. Long-time Italian national player Leonardo Bonucci is moving from Serie A club Juventus Turin to Köpenick, as the German Champions League participant announced on Friday.
“With Leonardo we are signing a player with a lot of experience. He has proven his qualities both nationally and internationally over many years. We are convinced that with his mentality and flexibility he will expand our possibilities in defense and raise the level again will increase,” said Union managing director Oliver Ruhnert in the message.
According to media reports, the Italian has signed a one-year contract with an option for another season. “It’s something special for me to go abroad for the first time in my career. At Union I have the opportunity to continue playing at the highest level and to support the team on their way in three demanding competitions with my experience. I’m happy very much looking forward to this new stage in my career,” said Bonucci.
Bonucci comes to Union without pay
Juventus announced that an agreement had been reached with the Berliners “on the free, final sale of the player’s registration rights”. The possible transfer fee had previously been speculated. Ruhnert had already said on ZDF’s “Aktuelle Sportstudio” on Saturday: “I think Leonardo Bonucci is a player who would not even cost a fee at the moment.”
There has been a lot of speculation about the change in recent weeks. Many media reported on an agreement as early as Thursday. Unlike in the winter with Isco, nothing went wrong this time, even in the last few moves.
At Juve, the 36-year-old Bonucci no longer played a role in coach Massimiliano Allegri’s plans and was recently no longer in the squad. The 2021 European champions, who equalized 1-1 against England in the European Championship final and converted a penalty on penalties, still had a valid contract with Juve until next summer.
The national players Gosens and Volland had moved to Berlin in the past few weeks. Union has a tradition of signing players whose names sound bigger than the club at the time. Neven Subotic and Max Kruse, for example.
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But Bonucci is playing in a different league. The transfer shows once again that after the great successes of the past few years, Union is now also accessing player commitments in a higher class. The 36-year-old has a lot of Champions League experience, even more than Gosens and Volland. As is well known, this was lacking in the Berlin squad before.
Players who are dissatisfied with their clubs have repeatedly called up their potential at Union in recent years – or even increased it. Bonucci will reinforce central defence, where Robin Knoche, Danilho Doekhi and Diogo Leite were last seeded.
Officially, the goal of the season in Köpenick is to reach the 40-point mark and secure relegation in the Bundesliga. But the Irons, who have always moved into international business in the past three seasons, have been secretly more ambitious for a long time. With players of Bonucci’s caliber, the ambitions after the transfer offensive should continue to rise.
Bonucci won nine Italian league titles and lifted the cup four times. In 2017 he joined AC Milan for €42m but returned to Turin just a year later.
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