Man Utd have continued to scout a teenage Serie A sensation dubbed ‘the new Pirlo’, with the club expected to test the waters with a £40m bid – claims a report.
Sandro Tonali is the man in question, with the Brescia midfielder linked to a host of Europe’s elite over the last 12 months including Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid and four Serie A heavyweights.
The interest prompted eccentric Brescia owned Massimo Cellino to slap a €300m price tag on the rising star, but a report from British newspaper the Sun claims that Man Utd chiefs will try their hand with an initial £40m tempter.
Tonali, 19, plies his trade in a deep-lying midfield role, but has already shown glimpses of his threat further forward in contributing six goals from his 61 first-team league appearances thus far.
Already a fully-fledged senior Italy international, the expectation is that Cellino will hope to initiate a bidding war for Tonali’s services next summer.
However, the Sun state that Utd’s hierarchy have ‘a feeling Tonali could be one worth paying out big bucks for’, and that a Man Utd source told the publication: “We have known about Tonali for 18 months but our Italian scouts say he has gone to the next level and United need to get involved – he could be a generational talent.”
Any prospective deal will have to go through Cellino, however, and the Italian’s latest comments suggest Brescia will not part without the man dubbed the new Pirlo without a fight.
“The other day, his agent and his parents were telling me about this €50m evaluation,” said the ex-owner and chairman of Leeds Utd.
“I replied that for me he is worth €300m, which means I don’t want to sell.
“I have a dream. If Sandro accepts, I am ready to make a big financial sacrifice to extend his contract.
“It’s up to him to decide. He can stay here and enjoy his football, or go to a big club and risk being left on the bench.”