Manchester United’s clear need for fresh midfield talent has led to Sandro Tonali being touted as a potential addition.

Italian outlet Calciomercato reported earlier this month that United had sent scouts to watch him in action, and The Guardian’s transfer round-up today has once again touted Tonali as a possible January signing.

Gazzetta journalist Nico Schira claims United will scout him tonight when Brescia take on Juventus.

So what do we know about the highly rated Tonali, who Calciomercato reported that Ajax and Borussia Dortmund are both also keen on?

Here are five facts about the reported United transfer target…

(Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
  1. Tonali, 19, is already a cult hero at Brescia after leading the club to win promotion last season. He has made 58 first team appearances for the club, scoring five goals and providing 10 assists.
  2. His playing style has been compared to Italian legend Andrea Pirlo, and the similarities are there right down to his long hair. Tonali’s agent Roberto La Florio claimed he is more advanced than Pirlo was at his age.
  3. Despite the Pirlo comparisons, Tonali says he models himself more on another Italy hero, quoted by Football Italia: “My role model was [Gennaro] Gattuso in terms of grit.”
  4. Tonali’s future is complicated by unpredictable Brescia owner Massimo Cellino, formerly of Leeds United. He has regularly talked up the midfielder, insisting he would want a huge fee to consider selling his prize asset.
  5. Brescia rely on his creativity. He is averaging 1.8 key passes per game this season, nearly double his nearest teammate, while he also leads the team in successful dribbles. One red flag is a poor 67 per cent pass completion rate.
(Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Could a deal happen?

Tonali is a bright talent who is more likely to leave Brescia before his contract expires in 2022 than he is to sign a new deal. If United don’t snap him up, one of Italy’s big guns will.


However it would be a surprise if Brescia cashed in this January, in their first season back in the top flight. Earlier this year his price tag was touted by The Mail at £30 million. Now it could be far more.

United clearly need midfield talent and Tonali would be an exciting option. As a forward thinking replacement for Nemanja Matic, he could be what the team need.

It should be noted of course that the club do not buy from Italy very often, and the last Azzurri player the club bought was Matteo Darmian.

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