At the age of 16, Riccardo Tonin is already facing up to a decision that could come to define his footballing career.
The teenage forward only stepped up to AC Milan’s Under-17 side in June, but that has not stopped clubs from across the continent getting wind of his potential.
Tuttomercatoweb report that Premier League duo Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton are both interested in one of Italy’s most promising young players; although it remains to be seen whether Milan would be willing to let him go.
Though Tonin is some way off a first-team debut for Milan, he has earned rave reviews in the club’s famed academy. Something of an old-school number nine, Tonin is a clinical finisher who thrives on one-on-one opportunities.
He is also handy with either foot, the odd YouTube montage displaying a young striker in the style of Torino goal machine Andre Belotti with ice running through his veins.
The question, however, is whether Tonin would be handed a chance at Milan. Cynics will express doubts, especially with the San Siro giants spending huge sums on new attackers this summer.
Yet, manager Vincenzo Montella’s willingness to give an opportunity to 19-year-old academy graduate Patrick Cutrone (below), who scored on last week's Serie A opener against Crotone, suggests that Tonin should keep the faith.
Nonetheless, moving to Tottenham may be a tempting proposition for a player right at the beginning of his burgeoning career. After all, manager Mauricio Pochettino is famed for his ability to mould youthful potential and the Argentine is not afraid to make fresh-faced talents a crucial part of his first-team.
Southampton, too, have brought plenty of players through their academy in recent years and signing young, unpolished diamonds remains central to their impressive recruitment strategy.