Sandro Tonali’s agent says the Brescia youngster shouldn’t be compared to Andrea Pirlo - “if we want to go over the top, at the same age he’s even stronger”.
The 18-year-old has been linked with a host of Serie A clubs, and has already been saddled with the tag of the new Pirlo.
“Sandro Tonali is Sandro Tonali, it's not the new Pirlo, on the contrary…” Roberto La Florio told calciomercato.com.
“While he’s close to him in terms of position on the pitch and character, calling him ‘the new Pirlo’ can only hurt him.
“At his age Pirlo wasn’t a regista, so if we want to go over the top, at the same age he’s even stronger.
“Obviously we’re comparing a kid to the champion, but I say that because Andrea was a trequartista, then [Carlo] Mazzone moved him into the middle of the pitch and with Ancelotti he became a unique player, incomparable.
“But trust me: Tonali is Tonali.
“He and Pirlo met in the Brescia dressing room a year ago. There wasn’t yet all this clamour around Tonali, it was a very simply and nice moment where Tonali got to meet a champion like Pirlo. Moments like that leave an impression.”
The agent was also asked about the interest of big clubs in his client.
“Not just them, because against Spezia [Angelo] Gregucci was there on behalf of Roberto Mancini to watch him for the national team. There were also Inter, Juventus and Napoli.
“Sampdoria wanted him, Walter Sabatini moved to make an offer to Brescia, and I’m sure that with a team like Samp of Fiorentina Tonali would become a starter in just a few games.
“Roma also made an offer to Brescia, while Inter also followed him and would have perhaps left him where he is for the season. But [President Massimo] Cellino rejected every offer.
“I expect and hope to see him in Serie A, I think youngsters should be sold at the right time because you never know what will happen in football.
“Milan could certainly be an ideal solution, in a club like that he could find space and, among other things, Sandro is a Milan fan…
“I’m convinced that even at a top club he could adapt in a few months, but you need to find the right moment to convince Cellino.
“Juventus? I can confirm that I’ve been in contact with [sporting director Fabio] Paratici but it’s more difficult there, there’s so much competition.
“It’s difficult to see him finding much space at Juventus, but Tonali at Juventus could be a solution if the player is presented with an important project, maybe going on loan for a year. Never say never.
“They’re not afraid in France, Monaco are one of the teams that are following Tonali, for example, and they’re always very attentive to youngsters.
“And soon Sandro will go to the U19 World Cup, then the European Under-21 Championship is in the crosshairs.
“I’d say it’d take €15-17m, maybe up to €20m to budge Cellino, but Brescia set the price. But there’s never been such a highly rated player in Serie B, apart from Marco Verratti who Paris Saint-Germain took for €12m.”
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk