Manchester United sent scouts to Italy over the weekend to run the rule over Brescia teenage midfielder Sandro Tonali.
And they were not alone. Sat alongside them in the stands were representatives from both Ajax and Borussia Dortmund, keen to watch the player who has been dubbed, by some sections of the media, as the next Andrea Pirlo.
The Italy under-21 international broke into the first-team aged just 17, appearing as a substitute in their Serie B defeat away to Avellino in August 2017. By the start of last season, he had established himself as a first-team regular, and helped his side achieve promotion as champions back to Serie A, after an eight year absence from the top flight.
Tonali’s side Brescia were beaten 4 – 3 by Bologna in front of their home fans on Sunday afternoon, but that is unlikely to deter the top European clubs who continue to circle the 19-year old.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.