Italian legend, Andrea Pirlo, believes 20-year-old Sandro Tonali is a better player than he ever was. Just imagine that one of the greatest midfielders the game has ever seen, proclaims about a player in his teenage years has a higher ceiling than he did.
So, it’s no surprise to see Italian football giants battling for his signature, including Inter Milan and Juventus. Tonali has already voiced his wishes to stay in Italy. However, with Italy’s greatest midfielder touting you in front of the footballing world, European clubs are likely to keep an eye on the development of Tonali in the next few years.
Who is Sandro Tonali?
The new ‘Andrea Pirlo’ – Who is Juventus and Inter Transfer Target Sandro Tonali?
Just over three years ago, Tonali broke into the Brescia squad at the age of 17. Now he is a key member in the midfield of Diego Lopez’s side.
In the 2018/19 season, Tonali became a starter throughout the campaign. He helped Brescia win the Serie B title and promotion back to Serie A. Despite catching the eyes of Serie A’s elite, Brescia is currently rock bottom of the league and relegation is looking likely. Although, this shows Tonali’s quality. He still shines on a struggling side.
Style of Play
He is regarded as a promising young Italian player in his position as a regista. The word regista is originally Italian and literally means ‘director’ in which players direct the play and control the game. He is strong and elegant with the ability to read the game but also has excellent vision and creativity to provide for his forwards. Tonali has played in the defensive midfield role in a 4-3-3 formation throughout this campaign. Whilst, featuring in central midfield in an Coppa Italia fixture.
Despite his defensive role, Tonali has still chipped-in by providing five assists for Bresica and created 2.1 key passes per game in the Serie A. His maturity and composure are also acknowledged by his suitors. Especially his calmness on the ball by successfully having 1.4 dribbles per game and he is fouled 2.2 times per game. (Whoscored)
His defensive work still doesn’t go unnoticed with 1.2 tackles per game and 1.3 clearances per game in the Serie A. However, due to Brescia’s weakness in controlling games, his pass succession rates is only 73.9%. Not ideal for a register, but it can be contributed to his team because the side only averages 42.3% possession per game. (Whoscored)
Tonali has shown his defensive abilities but has also quality attributes going forward – perfect attributes for the Regista role.
The aging Miriam Pjanic has been a huge part of Juventus’ success in the past few years but at the age of 30-years-old, he is struggling to dictate and control the game as he did in previous seasons. It’s the same situation for Blaise Matuidi, who at 33 years old, is struggling to keep up with the pace of Serie A football.
Adrien Rabiot was supposed to his heir, but again, he has struggled with the style of play in Italy. Now, the French midfielder could quickly move on in the summer. The club signed him on a free transfer just last July.
Maurizio Sarri could identify a young midfielder playing his trade in Serie A to sew up his midfield – and that is Tonali. The youngster could follow in the footsteps of his icon – Andrea Pirlo – and become Juventus’ regista for the next ten years. At this moment in time, Tonali would become an integral part of Sarri’s plans and challenge for Scudetto every season. He would also compete in Europe’s elite competition.
Ever since Inter’s last Serie A title in 2010, the club has seen a dramatic fall in dominance. However, the appointment of Antione Conte looks to have set the club in the right direction as they currently sit third in the league. One more transfer window for Conte could see Inter, once again, among the best in Italy and, hopefully, Europe. Tonali is expected to be high on that transfer list.
Inter are currently lacking in defensive midfielders with Marcelo Brozovic their only recognised player. But, Brozovic is prominently a central or attacking midfielder being played in a defensive position – and that just spells trouble.
The acquisition of Tonali would allow Nicolo Barella and Christian Eriksen to focus more on the attacking style of their play. Currently, both midfielders are being pushed further back to accommodate with Inter’s non-existence midfield. This has cost Inter valuable points over the season.
Tonali would greatly improve both Inter and Juve. Both teams are in desperate need of a player like him, and he will likely change the fortunes of any team he decides to join.