Brescia owner Massimo Cellino has revealed that he has promised midfielder Sandro Tonali that he will be allowed to leave if he asks for a transfer this summer.
The 19-year-old is one of the brightest prospects in Italian football and has attracted interest from some of the planet’s biggest sides. A move failed to materialise last summer, but now he has a year of top-flight experience under his belt, teams are expected to return with fresh bids once the window opens.
“My dream would be to keep Tonali. I would be willing to do somersaults,” he said.
“I’d like to see him in Rome or Napoli. But that will be difficult. I would prefer him to remain in Italy anyway. It will depend on Tonali, he will choose [which team he joins]. But I hope he stays in Italy. He must become another [Andrés] Iniesta.”
It’s not only Italian sides who have pursued Tonali. Both Manchester City and United have followed him in the past, while Liverpool and Chelsea have both been unconvincingly linked with the midfielder, but remaining in Italy is seen as the most likely outcome.
Cellino also revealed that an unnamed team in the Champions League lodged an offer for Tonali in January, but Brescia were not interested in doing business midway through the season.
“In January, a very important team came to me telling me that they wanted Tonali,” he admitted. “I didn’t discuss numbers, but only asked one question: ‘Would you let him play straight away in the Champions League?’
“They said: ‘We would leave him in Brescia until the end of the season’.