Football Transfer Rumors: Juventus Set to Lock Leonardo Bonucci to Improved Deal, Aims to Ward Off Chelsea Interest
Juventus is reportedly set to keep Leonardo Bonucci to their side as the Series A champion is preparing a new and improved contract for the Italian center-back to ward off a rumored interest from Premier League club Chelsea.
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Bonucci, 29, is considered as one of the best defenders in Italy right now. He is a mainstay of the Italy national team that current Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte previously managed.
Conte and Bonucci worked together at Juventus from 2011 to 2014, and then at Gli Azzurri from 2014 until this year's Euro tournament. Thus, both have a long and good relationship with one another.
There are rumors that Conte tried to sign his former player during the recent summer transfer window, but Juve turned down the Blues' offer immediately. Chelsea revealed to have submitted already a $60.6 million bid, a world-record fee for a defender, plus Cesc Fabregas for Bonucci, but the Turin giants still rejected the proposal.
"Bonucci and (striker Paulo) Dybala are already locked down to contracts, but it is only right to give them recognition with improved wages," Juventus director Beppe Marotta said, according to Caught Offside. "We are working to improve their contracts, also to maintain balance in the locker room."
"We want a cohesive group without 'star' names who earn much more than the others," Marotta added.
Juve lost its superstar, Paul Pogba, during the summer after Manchester United bought him for the now standing world transfer record of $109 million. It seems like the Old Lady is not yet ready to lose another big-name player soon.
Increasing Chelsea's bid and keeping Fabregas in the package might convince Juve to let go of Bonucci next summer, as a swap deal is unlikely to happen in January because of the Italian squad's Champions League participation this season, according to The Sun.
Juve is also interested in Fabregas as the Spanish midfielder is the ideal front midfield defender for Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri's 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 formation.