Juventus and AC Milan are two of the biggest teams not only in Italy, but all over Europe. And they accomplished a shocking move during the current transfer window, when they decided to swap Mattia Caldara and Gonzalo Higuain in exchange for Leonardo Bonucci. Even though the Caldara-Bonucci was a straight-up move and Higuain arrived on a separated deal, we will treat this one as a lone piece of business.
Considering the stature of the players involved, we must ask: who won the deal? Let’s dig a bit deeper to find out.
AC Milan received: Gonzalo Higuain, Mattia Caldara
First, let’s analyse Milan’s return… and at least on paper, there is no doubt they are well equipped following the deal. It was not a secret that Bonucci wanted to play in the UEFA Champions League next season, so he was going to leave Milan either way. And instead of selling him to another club, they went ahead and acquired a replacement piece. If you ask me, that’s a very smart move from Milan. Caldara is nowhere near Bonucci’s level and impact, but he has tremendous upside. Two years ago he was one of the best defenders in the Serie A playing for Atalanta, and he should flourish with consistent playing time. Plus, we can’t forget that he will probably pair up with Alessio Romagnoli at centre-back. Those two could easily become Italy’s starting CB pairing for years to come in the near future.
Plus, they also got the services of a proven striker such as Gonzalo Higuain. Even though the Argentina international will be past his prime sooner than later, he remains one of the most talented strikers in Europe and has a resume that speaks for itself. Let’s not forget that he is coming off a stellar season with 16 goals in 36 matches for Juventus, and has 111 goals in 177 Serie A matches throughout his career. At 30 years old, Higuain still has a few more years left in him at the top level. And he should be an immediate upgrade over the team’s attacking options from last season, Andre Silva and Nikola Kalinic. By all accounts, signing Higuain should make Milan an even more dangerous side on the attacking end. Expect him to build a great society with Milan’s creative players such as Suso, Alen Halilovic and Hakan Calhanoglu.
Juventus received: Leonardo Bonucci
Juventus should feel more than pleased with the return of Bonucci. The Old Lady already won the transfer window with the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Portuguese’s presence on the team means that Juventus will be all-in to win the Champions League title with CR7 on board. For that to happen, they needed to bolster their defence. And honestly, there are not many centre-backs who could be an upgrade over Bonucci right now. The 31-year-old should make an impressive defensive line even better. Let’s remember that Juve already feature Giorgio Chiellini, Mehdi Benatia and Daniele Rugani for the centre-back position. Undeniably, Bonucci’s history with the club should make him a starter from day one. And needless to say, he makes Juventus’ defence much better than last season’s one… which is a lot to say, considering they only conceded 27 goals in 38 Serie A matches last term.
It’s hard to see any of these two sides as losers out of this transfer. On one hand, Juventus strengthen their defence with a world-class centre-back while getting rid of two players that were not going to start. Meanwhile, AC Milan secured a top-class striker and a centre-back filled with upside; both should be mainstays of the club for years to come.
Clearly, both teams won here.
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