Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali says Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric inspires him the most out of players currently active in the game.
The midfielder, who turns 20 in May, is one of the most in-demand talents in Europe with the likes of Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Juventus all rumoured to be keeping tabs on him.
Brescia owner Massimo Cellino said last year that it would take €300 million (£259m/$332m) to sign him – but Tonali himself isn’t being distracted by the interest in him.
“I am not thinking about it, I don't care, not now,” Tonali told the Corriere della Sera.
“And I’m not saying that to be misleading. I am just interested in finishing the season as best I can, because I still feel I have a lot to give to Brescia, who believed in me.
“Then, we’ll see. Cellino says he wouldn’t even sell me for 300 million? The president loves me, like a son, and I love him very much – he always gives me important advice.
“I don’t know, it’s a lot of money. It is a bit of a shock to hear certain figures, but I am always quite calm and serene, it is one of my qualities.”
Tonali frequently finds himself compared with Italy legend Andrea Pirlo, and the man himself has said he thinks the youngster is already the best midfielder in Serie A.
However, Tonali doesn’t think the comparison is a good one – and says it is mostly down to their physical resemblance.
“Because of the hair,” he noted. “It doesn’t bother me, but it is not a suitable comparison for me.
“Having similarities is one thing, but on the pitch we are very different. Pirlo’s ability was crazy. I don’t know who will be able to reach him.”
While Juventus have been the club most closely linked with a move, Tonali himself is an AC Milan fan.
“Yes,” he confirmed. “And Gennaro Gattuso was my idol. [But] out of the players today I am inspired [most] by Luka Modric.”
Despite Tonali’s efforts, Brescia currently find themselves bottom of Serie A and looking likely to return to the second division at the first time of asking.
Owner Cellino recently said he believed the season should be ended immediately out of respect for the victims of coronavirus in Italy, and he thinks resuming the league campaign would be “pure madness”.