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Higuain, Bonucci set for huge swap deal


MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Leonardo Bonucci of Italy competes for the ball with Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina during the International friendly match between Italy and Argentina at Etihad Stadium on March 23, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Claudio Villa

A monster swap deal is set to take place between Italian giants Juventus and AC Milan with Leonardo Bonucci and Gonzalo Higuain heading in opposite directions.

Bonucci, 31, left Juve for AC Milan in 2017 for $42 million but after 12 months he’s heading back to Turin with both the Italian international defender and Argentina striker Higuain pictured having medicals.

The deals are set to be confirmed later on Thursday, with young center back Mattia Caldara also heading to AC Milan. Higuain’s move to Milan is initially on a loan with a permanent deal said to be in place for $20 million at the end of the season.

For Higuain, his move was inevitable as the Argentine international, 30, moved down in Juve’s pecking order following their $125 million purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo this summer.

Which club got the better deal here?

It seems they’ve both done very well in this situation and it follows a trend in recent seasons of big-time swap deals becoming commonplace. Take the deal involving Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, for example.

Bonucci gets to return to a club where he is idolized and Juve will add to its staunch defense with a player who helped them become one of the most feared defensive units in world soccer.

With Giorgio Chiellini now 33 years old and Andrea Barzagli 37, Juve boss Max Allegri has spoken before about the need to make their defense younger. Bonucci is no young buck, but his presence back in Juve’s defense certainly makes them a stronger overall unit as they push for UEFA Champions League glory in 2018/19.

This deal has also worked out well for Milan, who have acquired a striker who has scored 111 goals in 177 Serie A appearances for Napoli and Juve over the past five seasons. The predatory forward had a down year in 2017/18 but he still scored 23 goals in 50 outings in competitions for the Old Lady.

Compare that to Milan’s total of 56 goals in their entire 2017/18 Serie A campaign and it’s safe to say manager Gennaro Gattusso will be happy to have Higuain on board to finish off chances.

This is a rare occasion where both clubs believe they got the better end of the deal.

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