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Sandro Tonali: has begun 10-month ban and is training with the team (Howe)

The Prophet

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I’m not sure that Milan will be in the title picture again soon, I feel like Napoli, Inter and Juve all probably will be better than them + some very competitive sides in Atalanta, Roma and Lazio.


He may feel now is the time to leave after achieving the impossible with the title. 

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Hopefully he thinks there's nothing more he can do at Milan. They're not going to win the Champions League, he's won the Scudetto. Worst case scenario for him is he ends up back at Roma/Juve/Milan on loan in 18 months time if he doesn't click in England. 

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2 minutes ago, The Prophet said:

Pretty sure Howe has said before that we won't pursue players that don't want to play for us. We must have had encouragement to make a bid.

Most club’s approach to be fair but most clubs are mislead by players agents is the problem 🙂

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1 minute ago, mighty__mag said:

Think this is a total none starter.


Milan fans basically all coming out saying he lives and breathes Milan, and is the clubs future captain. 


He's linked up well with Botman this season, to be fair to them.

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If it’s in the athletic, and Horncastle is reporting it I have to imagine it’s pretty damn concrete. 

Need that Orenstein stamp. 

I’m fairly certain we don’t bid unless we know the player is keen.  



Edited by Kanji

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Can’t see anything major happening until July TBH. Will take the clubs with more pull than us to make their decisions and then the dominoes will start to fall and then we know we’re we are and what combination of targets we can afford in fees and agents knowing our wage deal is next best available as interest in their clients evaporates due to others being signed from elsewhere in their place.



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Can't imagine he would be interested in the move.  If he wasn't interested and we submitted a bid anyway then you have to wonder what is going on with the decision making. To waste time on a total non-starter.


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I mean it’s only a bid at this point. 

I wouldn’t worry about the player wanting to come if we’ve made an official offer as we will have sounded him out in advance. 

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Amazing after the endless articles about data, wanting the right players, wanting the right attitudes and only going for players who've shown interest in the project, fans still question what we're doing in the market. It might not always be perfect, but it's not steered us wrong to date.

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Some truth in this as I recall the name from a few days ago and no one took it seriously at all…


So with that in mind…




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Let me cut to the chase: you're not getting Tonali.


I read through this thread, and... I have to address some of the things I've read in here. It's my nature. I apologize ahead of time.


Milan is currently the most healthy club, financially, in Italy. Inter are mountains of debt, and their owners, unlike Juve's, are unable/unwilling to put money into Inter. Inter are going to be selling. You would have a much bigger chance at Barella than you would Tonali. Inter need money, Milan do not.


You aren't going to get Tonali for 50m, by the way. Maybe they will pick up the phone for 100m, if Declan Rice is going for that.


Tonali is better in a midfield three, that's where he played before coming to Milan, but he's such a talent that he can play in our double pivot. His first year at Milan was tough, because he had to get used to the double pivot of our 4231. His second year, we won the league, and he was... a lion. I think people have underrated him this year, as he has been run into the ground, and asked to cover more ground than ever before. He's running an extra kilometer more than the second most on our team, each game, consistently. He's been run ragged this year and is constantly putting out fires.


People who think he had an average year this year are... judging him on a curve. Our tactics have shifted from a genuine 4231 to more of a 42... attack! This has left our midfield and defense more exposed, as our manager has... he's had a poor season. There were rumors swirling that he was going to get fired, with reports that Maldini wanted to fire him (some say Pirlo others say Italiano [coach of Fiorentina]), but our new owners fired Paolo Maldini instead--who turned our team around, as our new ownership shifts completely into its "Moneyball" approach to building up a team.


I also find the idea that we can't compete for the title or for the CL anytime soon... funny. Our team is still extremely young and if we add the right pieces, and our manager wakes up from his stupor, we are one of the best teams in Europe, like it or not, say we're lucky or not, without injuries to two of our best players in the semis (Leao and Bennacer) and we probably get to the CL final instead of Inter--and unlike Inter, our problems aren't against big teams, we actually tend to tear them to shreds. I'm not sure if you saw, but we... embarrassed Napoli 4-0 in their own stadium, and any team that opens up and attacks us. Our problem (well, our manager's problem), tactically, is that we struggle when we play small teams that defend in low-blocks. Provincial teams, like Inter.


We just extended Rafa Leao, when he was supposedly going to be tempted by the Premier League--I think that temptation is overrated when you are at a club like Milan--and we also extended Bennacer, Theo Hernandez, Tomori, Kalulu, and a whole host of our stars. In short, we're not going to lose anyone we don't want to.


However, let's say that the caricature that Italian teams are all struggling applied to Milan (it doesn't) but even if it did... we actually can't afford to let Tonali go. We don't have enough Italians in our squad, and we have to get rid of non-Italian trained players (players who have had their youth careers in Italy, regardless of nationality) to make room, and are currently seeking Italian players to add as useful backup players while finding ways to fit our new players into the squad lists.


So even if we did have to sell Tonali (we don't) then it would be better for us to sell Maignan, or Tomori, or Kalulu, or anyone else except Tonali.


Of course, I could be wrong. Our ownership did just fire Maldini for... asking for more money as he wants to win the CL now rather than in a few years. Maldini publicly demanded he wanted Milan to push for titles the year before, which firing him has put our ownership in a corner over what their ambitions are. Ownership has went out of its way to assert that their ambitions are still the same even without Maldini, and that they aim to be among the elite in Europe. For Milan, the CL is our identity, our DNA, and it is what most Milan fans value over anything else.


So maybe we do sell Tonali? I doubt it, mostly due to our problem with having enough Italians. Plus, the kid took a pay cut to extend with us, to make sure he could get the loan turned into something permanent, and the club (Maldini) put their faith in him after a bad first year and he exploded. He was then rewarded with an extension and a pay rise afterward. He's a boyhood Milan fan, he's destined to be one of our future captains, along with Theo Hernandez, and this squad really does not want to leave Milan. They have bought into the rebuild of Milan.


Now Barella versus Tonali...


Is Barella better than Tonali? It's a weird comparison, because... They play in such wildly different systems. Barella is far less exposed, does far less defensive work, covers less ground, and is given more license to go forward. He plays as a RCM in a 352 and isn't as exposed to open space at Inter that he would if he played for Milan.


I also think the fact that Tonali is three years younger is a huge element that is overlooked.


If Barella played at Milan he wouldn't be able to handle our double-pivot, most likely, he'd play as our CAM. So... comparisons between the two are... odd, it's like comparing Lampard and Roy Keane rather than Gerrard and Lampard, and I know that isn't an exact parallel for Barella and Tonali, but... I hope you get my meaning, they are actually very different players. When they both play for Italy, there isn't a headache about fitting them in together like Gerrard and Lampard, they actually play together well, and... they do different things.


When they play together for Italy, Tonali is the anchor, CDM, while Barella is always an RCM. He isn't as versatile as Tonali is. You can play Tonali further forward, you can play him as an RCM or LCM in a midfield three, but his passing range is underrated (he isn't Pirlo, but he's still got great vision) and I think is colored by this year being a tough one for Milan (despite us getting to a CL semi-final lol) as our attack was still the problem, putting more pressure on our defense and midfield.


Do I think Barella is a good fit for Newcastle? If you want to play him as an LCM/RCM in a midfield three, yeah, maybe? He's petulant, though. He doesn't take his lumps, brush himself off, and get on with it. He's a far more... Italian sort of midfielder. He's more suited to the Italian game than he would be for the Prem. He yells at his own teammates, complains to refs constantly, while being one of Italy's golden boys, so it's not like refs are going to let opponents kick lumps into him.


I don't think Barella would suit you, to be honest. He's a great player, there's no doubt, but he doesn't have the mentality for the Prem. Maybe he'd adjust? He's a very good player, but it all matters what you want from a midfielder.


If you're going to continue with your tactical setup that you have now, it could work. If you want a more attacking LB instead then... Tonali would be the better buy, but... I doubt you're going to get Tonali. If you want him to play as your LCM and you get a more attacking LB, then... Botman is going to be left on islands, and there's a reason why Howe plays a CB as LB for your guys. Mind you, this isn't just something Howe did, but at Lille, Djalo, a CB, was played as a LB with Botman, so if you get Barella, and he's playing as your LCM... that could upset the balance of your setup. If he's your RCM, that might be better.


Don't get me wrong, Barella is a great player, and if you want someone who offers more attacking threat from your RCM spot, then there are few midfielders in the world who do a better job than him. But he's constantly protected in Inter's 352 system, he doesn't just have a CB and CDM behind him but a RWB to shield him, and I think that in your 433, as it morphs, it would require Barella to put in more defensive work than he's used to--but he's done that while playing in Italy's 433, so he can probably do it.


But back to Tonali? The idea that Milan would sell Tonali for 50m is... it's hilarious. When Chelsea wanted Leao, we pointed to his release clause, which was 125 or 150m? His new release clause was just raised to 175m. When Chelsea asked us for Maignan, Milan won't pick up for the phone for anything less than 90m, and reports are that 90m was still considered too low for Maignan. Our goalkeeper. What do you think we'll say about Tonali?


Our owners just fired Maldini, who only extended his stay with them because he publicly demanded more money for transfers (which he didn't get)--but he also made demands about ambitions and that he wanted to win, and the new owners cannot really afford to sell Tonali, without causing havoc with the fans, but even then, let's say that Milan is poor and desperate (we aren't) like Inter (they are) because of the homegrown rules, we need to keep Tonali in the squad, anyway.


Do I think this story is real? Sure. I'm sure Newcastle did approach Milan for Tonali. Lots of reputable sources are putting it out there. My guess is that our ownership is leaking it so that when we turn them away, they can look like heroes. Our new ownership has been dishing out dirt on Maldini, leaking his supposed "plans" for Milan to justify why they fired him. They want to shore up fan support and what better way than to turn down Newcastle and EPL money?


There's no way he gets sold for anything less than 75m sterling. He's still eligible for U21 duty.


I tried to use bold, italics, and underlines to break things up and give you a very thorough breakdown of things. I hope this helped. I always enjoy talking with you guys.


Oh! And I told you so that Newcastle could make top four!



Edited by Milanista

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1 hour ago, The Prophet said:


Any news at your end or is this another Barella non-story?

I would be shocked if they sold Tonali. Inter need money, Milan don't.


If you wanted an Italian midfielder, Frattesi would be far cheaper than both of them.


Inter are expected to sell big parts of their team this year, due to their poor financial state.

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