Current Brescia and former Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has offered a crucial update on the future of reported Man City target Sandro Tonali.
Chelsea, Inter, Juventus and Roma are also believed to be watching the €35m-rated midfielder, who has been likened to Italian maestro Pirlo.
La Gazzetta dello Sport meanwhile recently reported that a City scout was present on Sunday at Rigamonti Stadium to watch the 18-year-old midfielder score in Brescia’s 4-2 win over Verona in Serie B.
Tonali thumped home from 30 yards after picking up a short free-kick and also made a fine assist in a performance that must have impressed watching scouts. So much so, that Guardiola is expected to make a check on Tonali on Saturday in Italy’s game against Portugal or alternatively against USA in Genk next Tuesday.
Now, Cellino has lifted the lid on the future of his prized young midfielder, claiming he will be sold to the club who shows he and Tonali 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’s Italy’s future, but his present is Brescia.”
Want all the latest football news directly on your timeline? Like our Facebook page.