Manchester City were exposed at the back in their 4-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League earlier this month.
In a game where Lionel Messi didn’t have things all his own way by his own high standards, the Argentine still managed to score a hat-trick and pick up an assist against Pep Guardiola’s side, who were toothless at the back.
With Vincent Kompany out of action with injury, Guardiola was forced into starting Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones against the Spanish champions and they both struggled to handle the pace and skill of the Barca forward line. Their job was not helped when Claudio Bravo was sent off after handling outside the box, but it was a catalogue of errors for the Premier League leaders in Catalonia on a night to forget.
If City are to be successful this season, domestically and in Europe, Guardiola has to strengthen his defence in January when the transfer window opens. There is no better defender in Europe right now than Leonardo Bonucci, who could just be the answer City need in the heart of their shaky back four. That signing would certainly see City’s price for the Premier League and Champions League slashed, while the double with 888sport may be attractive to some punters this season.
Bonucci was linked with a number of clubs, including City in the summer, but nobody in the Premier League was prepared to meet his valuation of £60 million at that time. Given how far off the pace at the back City look right now, that price tag might now look like a good investment.
The Italian defender has won six Serie A titles having first won the league in Italy with Inter Milan in 2006. Five of his winner medals have come at Juventus, with Juve successful in Serie A in each of the last five consecutive seasons. Along with Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli, Juve have boasted one of the strongest defensive units anywhere in Europe.
Bonucci was also part of Italy’s squad at Euro 2016 and was widely considered one of the best defenders at the tournament. His side fell to Germany on penalties in the quarter-final after the two teams could not be separated at the end of extra time.
There have been suggestions that Bonucci would be open to a move to Manchester City. The appeal of working under Pep Guardiola might just help City fight off competition from Chelsea, who are managed by Bonucci’s former international boss Antonio Conte.
Manchester City are able to compete with any side in Europe with their forward line, when the squad is fully fit. Sergio Aguero’s goalscoring record in recent seasons has been extremely impressive, while David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne help the side create plenty of chances.
If City can complete the signing of Bonucci and get Kompany back playing again, they would have a much better and balanced side that would hopefully not only be very successful in England but also in the Champions League, a competition their owners have been so desperate to win.