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Buckle up, the Tonali dream isn’t dead yet

The Viola’s unlikely quest to sign the midfielder has an unlikely ally in Italy boss Roberto Mancini.

Brescia Calcio v Udinese Calcio - Serie A
Athletic Justin Long
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Everyone knows that Juventus and Inter Milan are duking it out for Brescia’s transcendent midfielder Sandro Tonali. The 20-year-old who’s earned a “new Andrea Pirlo” monicker (despite the fact that he plays nothing like l’Architetto. Rondinelle owner Massimo Cellino has refused to sell for peanuts, having reportedly repulsed several offers involving swap deals and hung onto his most valuable asset for a year longer than anyone expected. His determination, though, will eventually buckle, as we all know, and one of the Bianconeri or the Nerazzurri will eventually come away with the crown jewel in the Leonessa crown.

Unless, of course, Fiorentina sneak in and snap him up first. While it’s a far-fetched scenario, the Viola supposedly offered €50 million in January (which Cellino rejected out of hand) and haven’t given up hope. As Mike and I discussed in the podcast, a midfield of Tonali, Sofyan Amrabat, and Gaetano Castrovilli would immediately vault the Viola engine room to one of the best in Italy.

Italy national team manager Roberto Mancini has handed the Gigliati a lifeline, supposedly telling Tonali that Florence is a better destination than Milan or Turin. Mancio is obviously considering the Euros next year and wants his star regista to start every game next year, which would definitely happen in Firenze. When you combine the guaranteed minutes to the relationship he could build with key Azzurri players Federico Chiesa and Gaetano Castrovilli, you can easily see why the mister wants Tonali in Tuscany.

It’s no secret that Rocco Commisso and Joe Barone really want to sign the Lodi native. Besides being the most lauded midfielder Italy has produced since at least Marco Veratti, Tonali’s long passing, dynamism in possession, solid reading of the game, set piece expertise, and overall quality would boost any team, but would mesh perfectly with Amrabat and Castrovilli. If there’s any chance of this happening, go ahead and draw your circles, light your candles, and begin your rituals to help it along.