Cellino wants Tonali at Roma or Napoli after turning down January bid
Sandro Tonali is one of Italy's most in-demand young players and Massimo Cellino hopes the player stays in Serie A.FotMob - about 1 year ago
Brescia president Massimo Cellino would like to see Sandro Tonali join Roma or Napoli but will be happy as long as he stays in Serie A.
Described by Andrea Pirlo as the best midfielder in Serie A, 19-year-old Tonali has been linked with a host of major clubs since breaking into the Brescia team in Serie B.
Juventus and Inter have been linked with moves for the player, who already has three senior caps for Italy despite playing just 23 times in the top-flight.
Cellino insists he will not stand in Tonali's way if he says he wants to leave and even suggested a transfer could have been arranged were it not for the chaos brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, before which Brescia looked destined to be relegated.
He told Tuttosport: "In January, a very important team came to me telling me they wanted Tonali. I didn't get into numbers, but just one question: 'Would you let him play straight away in the Champions League?'
"[They said] 'We'd leave him in Brescia until the end of the season'. I said to them, 'Thanks, but I'll keep him and we'll talk about it in July'.
"In February, I received another very important request and I didn't tell Tonali anything, with the intention of giving him a nice surprise in June. I can't say the name of the team. Unfortunately, coronavirus has changed everything."
He continued: "My dream would be to keep Tonali. I'd jump through hoops, but I have a deal with Sandro, who's a great boy. He knows that, when he asks me to leave, I'll let him go.
"I won't make it about the price – it's important he chooses from the heart. And it's only he who decides.
"Tonali is a cold, northern boy, but inside he's sentimental. That's why, as I'm a romantic, I'd like to see him at Roma or Napoli. But it'll be difficult for that to happen.
"I'd prefer him to stay in Italy, anyway."
When pressed on whether he could go to either Juventus or Inter, Cellino added: "It will depend on Tonali. He'll choose.
"But I hope he stays in Italy and gets to play. He should become an [Andres] Iniesta."