By most accounts, Italy’s top teenage talent is Brescia’s Sandro Tonali, a dynamic holding midfielder who at 18 has become the most important player in his side’s push for promotion to Serie A.
Whether they get there, few think the club will be able to keep Tonali beyond this season with the player getting Andrea Pirlo comparisons, being called up to the Italian national team, and with Roma and Juventus heavily linked.
And now, Brescia’s president has added Liverpool to the mix, saying that while his preference would be to keep Tonali, he has had discussions with Roma—and been contacted by Liverpool.
“Roma have asked me about Tonali,” Massimo Cellino confirmed when asked by Corriere Dello Sport. “I’ve talked with [sporting director Mauro] Baldissoni several times, but I want to keep the boy as long as possible.
“Is he ready yet? I don’t know, he’s still only 18. But a little while ago, Liverpool have also contacted me.”
Roma are the supposed frontrunners and said to be working on a deal that would see Tonali’s services secured this month but with the player remaining at his current club until the summer.
Tonali has a goal and five assists in 18 Serie B appearances for Brescia this season after breaking into the first team last season as a 17-year-old when he scored two goals and two assists in 19 Serie B appearances.
Despite that his skills on the ball have earned him comparisons to Pirlo, the player himself grew up a supporter of AC Milan and has said he models his game after the hard-tackling Gennaro Gattuso.
Liverpool ending up with him, presumably via a deal agreed now for the summer, is probably a long-shot at best—Roma, Juventus, and Milan if they move for him would be far likelier destinations.
Still, the prospect of them being involved in the bidding for Italy’s top teenage footballer and a potential generational talent is a positive, even if the end result is Tonali remaining in Italy.