Brescia’s teenage sensation Sandro Tonali has seen his Football Index price steadily climb over the last 12 months but even at today’s value of £2.66 he still looks like decent value for a long term investment but just how good can Tonali be?
Regular football at a young age
Tonali, who was born and raised in Lombardy, joined the Brescia youth set up aged 12. His first team breakthrough came at just 17 years old. Since then, he’s been a consistent feature in senior football racking up a total of 80 appearances and, as they say, you can’t truly learn the trade without playing games.
The 2017/18 campaign saw Tonali play in 19 Serie B games as Brescia finished in a lowly 16th position. By the time the next season rolled around, Tonali was a near ever present – missing just two games through suspension – and contributed three goals and seven assists with his presence in the middle of the park a huge part of the reason why Brescia won the league.
Now, Tonali is in his first spell in Serie A. Again, he’s been the first name on Diego Lopez’s team sheet. He’s featured in 23 matches and has chipped in with a goal and five assists. Although it’s been a great season for Tonali, with his first senior Italy call up coming back in October, his side are rooted to the bottom and look doomed to relegation.
A style that oozes class
Tonali has already been dubbed the ‘new Pirlo’. There are some similarities between the pair but Tonali is his own man. Pirlo, who also came through the Brescia system, made a reputation for himself as a dead ball specialist and Tonali is pretty handy with set piece situations too hence the assists numbers he’s posting.
Beyond that though, Tonali, again like Pirlo, has the knack of always having a yard of space during open play. His instinct is also to pass forwards, which is perhaps something that would yield better end result if he wasn’t in one of the most toothless sides in the division. In respect of being different to Pirlo though, Tonali is much more dynamic and has the ability to beat a man and that makes him a versatile option as he can transition between a two or three man midfield.
What does the future hold?
A teenager who specialises in the deeper lying midfield position and has international caps under his belt already shouldn’t be underestimated. Even if by some miracle, Brescia survive in Serie A Tonali will be off to a big boy. The only question is who will win the race to sign him?
There is a long list of clubs watching him. Manchester United, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, as well as Italian duo Juventus and AC Milan, all having strong links. Do Atletico have the money – or bravery – to stump up big cash for another wonderkid after splashing £113m on Joao Felix last summer? It seems an unlikely destination. We’re sure Liverpool and Man United would be interested in bringing Tonali to the Premier League but would the Brescia man go for a dramatic shift at such an early stage in his career? Again, we’re not convinced.
That leaves the Italian clubs; Juventus would seem the obvious choice. Silverware is a virtual guarantee in Turin but Tonali is a grounded individual. He wants to develop through game time and – he’s also a huge admirer of Gennaro Gattuso who spent the majority of his career playing at the San Siro. We think that might cause him to lean towards a move to AC Milan.
But his price won’t skyrocket?
A move to Milan won’t put Tonali’s price through the roof – although speculation in the transfer window might – but, remember, he’ll only be 20 and we look at him as very much a long term hold. The European Championship takes place next summer now and Tonali will be starting in the opening fixture in Rome and the hype will put him onto the radars of everyone who doesn’t follow football on the continent that closely, which in turn will draw investment.
Then, you have the domestic situation. Tonali is a huge talent and is more than just potential as he’s proven over 80 games already – unlike some who have a handful of decent games and get labelled the messiah. He’ll either be central to dragging AC Milan back to something like their good old days or the transfer noises will start again and, fast forward two years, you can bet the likes of Juventus, Man United and Liverpool will still all be keen but the Spanish giants – Barcelona and Real Madrid – will join the hunt too.
There you have it, a brief insight into Sandro Tonali – the man who will be dominating midfields for the next decade.