Brescia president Massimo Cellino has admitted Sandro Tonali has turned down the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter Milan in order to seal a summer move to AC Milan.
The 20-year-old midfielder turned heads across Europe throughout 2019/20, providing seven assists across 35 league appearances despite Brescia suffering relegation to Serie B — enough to see him earn his first three senior caps for Italy.
Why did Tonali choose AC Milan? Five things to know…
- Tonali created more chances (68) and provided more assists (7) than any other Brescia player in Serie A last season.
- Italy manager Roberto Mancini has described the youngster as “incredibly gifted” in the past.
- His performances last season have drawn the attention of the likes of Barca and United, despite Brescia being relegated.
- But Cellino has revealed Tonali has jumped at the chance to join boyhood club AC Milan.
- Milan will initially take the midfielder on loan with an option to buy at the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
As a result, some of the continent’s biggest clubs have reportedly been lining up for Tonali’s signature, with the likes of Man Utd and Barca in need of a serious midfield revamp – the former having already added Donny van de Beek to their squad.
However, Cellino has revealed that once AC Milan showed an interest, the player’s mind was made up and an agreement was reached quickly.
“I know that [Inter CEO] Beppe Marotta really wanted Tonali, and that Antonio Conte appreciated him, so I think his agent had agreed terms with Inter,” Cellino said.
“As soon as Milan showed real interest, he did not want to listen to any other options.
“I also have a historically good rapport with Milan and we reached an agreement with [Milan technical director] Paolo Maldini quite quickly.
“We also had interest from Barcelona and Manchester United, but the lad is in love with Milan and went crazy once he heard of their offer, because he supports them.”
Milan’s deal for Tonali — who ranked second among Brescia players for passes completed (1,039) in Serie A last season — looks set to be an initial £9m loan, with a £13m option buy thereafter, while a further £9m will be payable in add-ons.