Chelsea and Manchester City are likely to be the only two clubs willing to meet the new €40m asking price for Sandro Tonali, according to reports.
The two Premier League clubs, along with Inter Milan and Juventus, have been strongly linked with the Brescia midfielder, with Gazzetta dello Sport claiming that both the Blues and Inter watched the player during a 2-1 defeat to Venezia in Serie B.
Tonali, who has been labelled ‘the next Andrea Pirlo’, has been attracting plenty of interest this season and was recently called into Roberto Mancini’s senior Italian squad.
Roma and Napoli are also thought to have shown an interest in the 18-year-old, who has emerged as one of the brightest prospects in Italian football.
While Brescia have reiterated their desire to keep the player in the new year, the report goes on to state that both Chelsea and City are ready to meet their asking price for the player and that Juve could also launch a January bid that would involve loaning Tonali back for the second half of the season.
And earlier this month, Brescia president and former Leeds owner Massimo Cellino, stated he would likely sell the talented youngster to “whichever club showed him and the player the most love”.
“I often talk about football to Allegri and discuss tactics with him, but we’ve never talked about Tonali,” he told Tuttosport.
“There’s no need: Sandro is a talent whom every Coach would like to have. He’s a modern midfielder who solves tactical problems.
“Tonali starts off as a ‘regista’, but he’s so good that he can raise or lower the team’s centre of gravity, based on the needs of the Coach.
“Would I prefer Tonali be coached by Allegri, Guardiola or Sarri? I hope he remains at Corini’s disposal for as long as possible.
“I have a very good feeling about Eugenio. He’s a very good Coach. If Tonali wants to stay at Brescia, I’m willing to keep him forever.
“In any case, I’d like to enjoy him a bit more and focus on promotion to Serie A so we don’t lose half our team.
“No-one’s called me for Tonali yet, although it’s understandable that everyone likes him. If – and when – the time comes to sell him, not just a super offer will be enough to convince me.
“Those who want Tonali will have to show the lad and I the most love. When I say love, I mean with regards to their the approach, the right time, not distracting him from Brescia.
“These aspects are more important than the money, like it happened with Nainggolan at Cagliari.
“Juve offered more money for Radja, but Roma showed that they wanted me more, making sacrifices.
“When I got to Brescia, Tonali was a ‘mezzala’ and and he wasn’t even a starter for our Primavera team.
“I noticed him in training and asked [then-Coach Roberto] Boscaglia to promote him to the first team.
“I followed his development closely: he’s a modern ‘regista’ because he possesses the dynamism of a ‘mezzala’.
“There is a characteristic that he mustn’t lose if he wants to reach the top: the spirit of being at the service of others.
“Tonali has the quality of the champion but is humble. I hope God keeps him like that, but I’m optimistic because he has two exemplary parents.
“He is Italy’s future – but for now, his future is Brescia.”
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