Brescia president Massimo Cellino claims there has been contact from Liverpool about Sandro Tonali.
Cellino told Corriere dello Sport about Liverpool’s interest when discussing a potential move to AS Roma.
Liverpool make Tonali contact
“Yes, Roma have asked me about Tonali,” he said.
“I’ve talked about him to [Roma director, Mauro] Baldissoni several times, but I want to keep the kid as long as possible.
“Is he ready? I don’t know, he’s 18. But Liverpool also contacted me a little while ago.”
Who is Sandro Tonali?
Tonali isn’t a name that is known to most outside of Italy. That’s understandable, however, when you consider he plays in Serie B.
He’s built a reputation for himself there, though, breaking through at 17 years old and is now in his second season.
Tonali was the 2018 Serie B player of the year, and was even called up to the Italian National team in November. Quite the achievement for a teenager who has never featured in the top flight.
Tonali has drawn comparisons with Andrea Pirlo while playing as a deep midfielder. With that in mind, it’s no real surprise that Champions League sides are expressing their interest.
Where would Tonali fit in?
The 18-year-old would have a natural position as the ‘6’ in Jurgen Klopp’s system. It’s a role that Jordan Henderson has filled until now, even if he’s not 100% suited to it.
Tonali can play it naturally, though. He averages over five interceptions a game in the role – the same as Henderson & Fabinho – although he still has catching up to do in other areas.
Henderson averages a little over 70 passes a game as a ‘6’. Tonali, on the other hand, is only used to playing 40.
That’s quite a difference and it’s clear to see that Tonali need developing if the contact from Liverpool develops.
But that’s why you sign an 18-year-old. Liverpool and Klopp could develop a talent like Tonali in their own style, teaching him to play the passing game as a long-term replacement for Henderson.