Juventus have rejected a bid from Manchester City of £38 million (€44m) for defender Leonardo Bonucci, telling the Premier League club that the player was not for sale. The proposed fee would have represented Juventus’ sale since Zinedine Zidane’s £47m move to Real Madrid in 2001.
Bonucci has become a crucial part of the Juventus side since joining from Bari in 2010 and has a contract in Turin through 2020.
The 29-year-old defender has seen his reputation grow at Euro 2016 as part of Italy’s standout three-man defence alongside Juventus teammates Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini.
New City manager Pep Guardiola has long been an admirer of Bonucci and called the Italian internationl ‘one of my favourite-ever players’ ahead of Bayern Munich’s Champions League clash with Juventus in February.
Media reports in Italy suggest that City were prepared to offer Bonucci €7m (£6m) per year in salary over five years if he made the move to the Premier League.
City are expected to come back with a higher bid worth €60m (£51.4m). Will Juve be able to turn that down?
Bonucci is not short of suitors and Chelsea may try to tempt the player and his club with an even higher bid.
Former Italy and Juventus coach Antonio Conte is set to take the reins at Stamford Bridge in the new season and may seek a reunion with the player he led for three years at club level.