As a temporary stand-in to provide cover in defense for Evan Ndicka as he competes in the African Cup of Nations tournament next month, Union Berlin center-back and former Juventus stalwart Leonardo Bonucci was a perfectly acceptable option. Sure, he's 36 years old, but his Serie A resumé is nearly beyond reproach, and Roma only needed to squeeze maybe 10-12 appearances out of him, so the relative lack of tread remaining on his tires shouldn't have been an issue.
Nor was the somewhat hostile response from sections of the fanbase who'd rather not see an old nemesis suit up for the Giallorossi. No, according to the Corriere dello Sport, the Bonucci-to-Roma deal is being scuppered thanks to good old-fashion economics. According to their report, the Friedkin Group didn't want to invest €2 million to secure Bonucci through the remainder of the season.
Without Bonucci, Roma is likely to pivot to any one of the younger options we've discussed in recent weeks, including Fluminense defender Nino, Chelsea's Trevor Chalobah, Salzburg's Oumar Solet, or even another former Juve defender, Merih Demiral. While those names are likely more expensive than Bonucci, the cost could potentially be offset if Renato Sanches is sent back to PSG six months ahead of schedule or if Matías Viña's impending move to Flamengo goes off without a hitch.
So, while it won't be Bonucci, Roma will still likely address the backline, with one or two new faces to link up with Gianluca Mancini, Diego Llorente, and Ndicka in 2024.