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Pirlo’s second coming?

Sandro Tonali

Despite only being 19 years old and still in his first season in Serie A, Sandro Tonali is already being linked with a host of top European clubs. The 19 year old defensive midfielder is currently playing for Brescia Calcio, who he joined in January 2018 and is already considered one of the most exciting talents in Europe. Italy boss Roberto Mancini was already aware of his talent even before he joined Italy’s top league as while Tonali was playing in Serie B, Mancini gave him his first international call up. Since then, Tonali has continued to impress and some prestigious clubs have started to pay close attention to his development. This has led to the Brescia president, Massimo Cellino to put a value of 50 million Euros on the right-footed midfielder.

Despite his age and relative inexperience in league and international football, he is already being compared to Italian legend Andrea Pirlo due to the similarities in their passing ranges and their haircuts. However, Tonali prefers to see himself more in the mould of Gennaro Gattuso as he believes they share a gritty and aggressive style of play. With some of the best holding midfielders in Europe reaching the end of the careers it’s understandable that there is high demand for what could be the next best player in the holding role.

If some of the latest reports are to be believed, the young Italian has his heart set on a move to Atletico Madrid. This move could be a relief to Los Rojiblancos as it seems that they are all but resigned to losing Ghanaian international Thomas Partey. Atletico also have an impressive history of developing young players as well as promoting and developing their own youth players, some of which include Koke, Saul Niguez, and Fernando Torres. Whilst there are certain expectations of Atletico in the league and European competitions, Tonali would likely be given the time he needs to develop and thrive with the Spanish club which could see him reach his full potential as so many players before him have managed to do. Whilst Atletico Madrid may be his preferred destination, it’s worth mentioning that Real Madrid and Barcelona are also showing interest and both are clubs that players often find it hard to say no to. Both clubs also see him as the natural replacement for their holding midfielders (Casemiro and Sergio Busquets respectively) but whether the youngster would be given the time to develop would remain to be seen.

It could also be highly likely that he moves to another Serie A club, as Roma have apparently already had an offer of 20 million Euros rejected by the player and Inter Milan have reportedly already met with his entourage and are looking to sign him in the summer. Italian giants Juventus are another interested party, but given they have recently revamped their midfield with the additions of Ramsey and Rabiot it’s likely that Tonali would find his playing time limited if he pulled on the famous black and white stripes. A move within Serie A could make the most sense given he is still in such an early stage of his career as he is already familiar with both the league and the teams within it and would not have to spend time and energy adjusting to a new language, new culture, and any other pitfalls that can often befall players moving countries.

Some of the other interested clubs include Manchester United, who are looking for someone who could anchor their midfield and give their more attacking midfielders some more freedom, and Manchester City, who could be looking for an alternative to Rodri as Fernandinho edges closer to retirement.

We would currently value Sandro Tonali at £6.03m. This low valuation is primarily because it’s still his first season in Serie A, but if he continues to play like he has been in the season so far, both at club and international level, it’s likely this value will skyrocket. Even now it’s likely that he could go for up to ten times our valuation, given the interest that surrounds him and the capital that the interested clubs have at their disposal. It seems that he knows what he wants and seems intent on moving to a club that will help his development as a player rather than cash in and go to the highest bidder. Even still, it’s almost certain that whoever is able to what he’s looking for will have to dig deep into their pockets to secure his signature.

Whilst January may come slightly too soon for Tonali’s big move, a Summer 2020 will surely lead to intense speculation regarding the Italian’s future. One option could be for a purchasing Club to loan the player back to Brescia for another season, with the aim of getting further top-flight and international experience under his belt before moving to one of the European giants rumoured to be interested in the player.

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