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Roma Could Bring Leonardo Bonucci Aboard in January

The 36-year-old former Juventus star could provide short-term cover for a suddenly short-manned Roma defense. Just temper your expectations.

SSC Napoli v 1. FC Union Berlin: Group C - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

José Mourinho is known for many things in football circles, but a pragmatic, almost crushing defensive approach is near the top of the list. Having managed some of the biggest clubs in the world, Mourinho typically had a bevy of talented defenders at his disposal, seldom worrying about silly little things like depth or injury. When you're managing Real Madrid or Chelsea, you can easily plug the gaps by throwing money at the problem.

That is not the case, nor has it ever been, for Roma. With his defense already run ragged, Mourinho will face a punishing series of fixtures over the next several weeks, including tilts against Juventus, AC Milan, and Atalanta. Adding further insult to injury, Roma will lose Evan Ndicka to the African Cup of Nations next month, while one of Mourinho's few stalwarts, center-back Gianluca Mancini, is dealing with a lingering groin issue that may see him miss tomorrow's fixture against Napoli.

With so many pieces injured and Ndicka unavailable for several weeks, Roma is reportedly keen on acquiring Union Berlin defender Leonardo Bonucci. No stranger to Roma fans, of course, Bonucci was a key piece in Juventus' utter dominance of the 2010s, winning eight league titles in nine years with the Old Lady.

After leaving their good graces last spring, Bonucci signed a one-year deal with Union Berlin. While he's made six league starts for Die Eisernen, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport, Bonucci is tempted by a return to Serie A. And with Roma short on defenders and unable to splash much cash in the winter transfer window, the GdS speculates that if Bonucci's contract is terminated, the Giallorossi could swoop in to sign the 36-year-old center-back.

Given his age and declining play, we shouldn't count on Bonucci to turn back the clock and suddenly play as if he were 28 years old again. But, as a short-term, six-month addition, this is a relatively risk-free move.

We'll keep tabs on this story as it develops, but it looks like another quiet shopping season for the Giallorossi, given their financial constraints.