The man who famously masterminded City’s first ever Premier League title triumph in 2012 is coaching the Italian national team these days. He’s doing a fine job too, phasing out the old and bringing in the new with his fresh-faced Azzurri unrecognisable from the team who failed spectacularly to qualify for the World Cup two years ago.
And while Sandro Tonali is yet to earn his first cap, it seems only a matter of time before a midfielder who so closely resembles Andrea Pirlo both on and off the pitch is orchestrating things in deep blue.
"I want to stress again that he's incredibly gifted and has clear margins for growth,” Mancini told Goal in October 2018 when he called Tonali up for the first time. He was 18 at the time and still playing Serie B football for Bari.
11 months on, Tonali is taking Serie A by storm, outshining Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira and Adrian Rabiot during a recent defeat to Juventus. Mancini was in the stands that day, according to Football Italia, and he’d have been thrilled to see his young protege play with such a serene confidence against the dominant force of Italian football.
Just imagine the magic Pep Guardiola could weave if he gets his hands on a playmaker with arguably the best passing range in Italian football right now. Calciomercato says City are right in the mix while Brescia president, the madcap Massimo Cellino, wants £45 million - at least.
That would be money well spent, at least in Mancini’s eyes.
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