Brescia president Massimo Cellino has revealed Liverpool are among a number of clubs to have enquired about Sandro Tonali.
The 18-year-old midfielder has played 18 Serie B games this season for Brescia and has emerged as one of Europe’s hottest prospects right now.
Who is Sandro Tonali? Five key things to know…
- Age: 18
- Position: Central midfield
- Senior career path: Brescia (2017-present)
- Senior goals/apps: 3/37
- Honours: Serie B Footballer of the Year 2018, Uefa European Under-19 Championship runner-up 2018
Interest surrounding Tonali has been building, especially since he won the Serie B Footballer of the Year award for 2018, with Cellino admitting Roma and Liverpool have been in contact.
However, he has also made it clear he wants to keep Tonali – who has been dubbed ‘the new Pirlo’ – at the club for as long as possible to help his development.
Cellino told Corriere dello Sport of a transfer scramble which could soon be sparked for the Italy U19 international.
He said: “Yes, Roma have asked me about Tonali. I’ve talked about him to [Roma director Mauro] Baldissoni several times, but I want to keep the lad as long as possible.
“Is he ready? I don’t know, he’s 18. But Liverpool also contacted me a little while ago.”
On the Pirlo comparisons, Tonali added: “I feel good playing in any midfield position. I mostly play as the playmaker but I have no problem playing on the sides of the midfield.”
Tonali’s representative Roberto La Florio has said: “Sandro Tonali is Sandro Tonali, he’s not the new Pirlo, it’s the opposite.
“While he’s close to him in terms of position on the pitch and character, labelling him ‘the new Pirlo’ can only hurt him. At his age Pirlo wasn’t even a regista, so if we want to exaggerate, Tonali at the same age is even stronger.”
Tonali’s Milan dream
As well as Roma and Liverpool, European heavyweights such as Juventus and Chelsea have also been linked with a move for Tonali.
The player himself, however, may have his sights set on a move to the San Siro with AC Milan, admitting he was a boyhood fan of the Rossoneri and that manager and former midfielder, Gennaro Gattuso, is a big inspiration to him.
He told Milannews.it: “I was an AC Milan fan as a child, as I have always said, but I am not thinking about the future. I am inspired by [Gennaro] Gattuso, by his determination. He always gave everything. I would like to do the same myself. I would like to be coached by him.”