web analytics
‘Serie A is the Premier League’s supermarket’ – Experts on ‘unique’ Tonali and ‘amazing’ Vicario

‘Serie A is the Premier League’s supermarket’ – Experts on ‘unique’ Tonali and ‘amazing’ Vicario

“Serie A is the Premier League’s supermarket.”

We don’t normally start with quotes from our friends across Europe in these articles but it was such a powerful statement from our colleague at Eurosport Italy, Simone Eterno, that we felt we had to lead with it.

We got in touch with Eterno to discuss two players, Sandro Tonali and Guglielmo Vicario, who are expected to join Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively in the coming days.

The Tonali news in particular is where we start as it has taken a lot of Europe by surprise. Tonali is one of the best midfielders in Europe and, perhaps more pertinently, was expected to stay at the club of his dreams for the rest of his career.

But things don’t always work out as we expect and now fans in the North-East will get to watch Tonali in action next season barring a dramatic change.

To begin with, we ask Eterno where he and the rest of the Italy is surprised by this.

“This is, from a certain point of view, a huge move,” Eterno begins. “And from another, it’s not at all.

“Let me explain it better. Of course there’s a little bit of shock among AC Milan fans in seeing a player like Tonali – an AC Milan supporter since he was a child – leaving for Newcastle United.

“But there is also the other side of the story that is becoming clearer and clearer summer after summer: Serie A is not the final destination anymore. Even if you play for AC Milan, Inter Milan or Juventus, Seria A is not ‘the goal’ anymore because the Super League already exists, and it’s called ‘Premier League’.

Sandro Tonali, Milan, Getty Images

Image credit: Getty Images

“If Newcastle comes in with a €70 million offer, then Milan are economically powerless. They can’t say ‘no’. And they can’t offer seven, eight or ten million euros a year to the player.

“They were already struggling to offer him three and a half million when he renewed his contract last year. It’s a matter of economic power: you guys in England are too rich for us to compete here.

Serie A is a supermarket for the English club.

We then ask Eterno about the emotional connection for Tonali and whether that played a part.

“The answer to this is in the previous answer. Of course you can support a club, but it’s not a matter of simply saying ‘no’ to half a million or a million more (or an even bigger raise). It’s a matter of being a professional player: if they offer you more than double, and if they offer you to play in the Premier League – with all due respect not in China or in Saudi Arabia -, then you go.

“Then the fact that Paolo Maldini has left as well and the future of the club doesn’t seem so clear, can’t be helping either. But it’s still a ‘secondary’ reason, not the primary.”

So what about Tonali as a player? What are Newcastle getting?

“For the fans who don’t really know Tonali and his game, my suggestion is to watch again the two legs against Napoli in the quarter-final of the last Champions League.

“Tonali put in an enormous effort in the middle of the field, he was the key for AC Milan in terms of closing spaces, cleaning the ball, and controlling the rhythm of the match when Milan was in possession. A clever player. I don’t know how the physical aspect of the Premier League will impact on him, but there is no doubt about the quality of the player.

“I would say he is kind of unique because he can work great on both aspects of the game: running and closing spaces from the defensive point of view, seeing good spaces for passes from the offensive one. He doesn’t score so much so don’t expect goals from him but that is the only real negative.”

Sandro Tonali, Milan, Getty Images

Image credit: Getty Images

And so onto Vicario. The 26-year-old was not Spurs’ first choice, that would appear to have been Spanish stopper David Raya, but he has certainly earned rave reviews for his performances in Italy last season.

With Hugo Lloris stepping away Spurs need a new number one. Can Vicario be that player?

“Yes he can be,” says Eterno. “Especially considering the poor performances of Hugo Lloris in the last season. He is ready to step in; and it would make no sense to buy him as a ‘second’. I’m pretty sure the player itself asked Tottenham some kind of ‘warranty’ from this point of view.

Guglielmo Vicario, Inter-Empoli, Getty Images

Image credit: Getty Images

“He has incredible reaction time. If you search on YouTube or Twitter you will find a lot of outstanding saves. Like every goalkeeper that arrives in the Premier League he will have to adapt to the ‘physical mess’ that is every corner in England. He will need a little time to adapt to that, I guess. But I’m sure he can do that.”

And for those who might be wondering where Vicario came from, Eterno addsL “He has been one of the best goalkeepers of the last two Serie A seasons.

“A true gem for all the Fantasy Football players in Italy. He did amazing, truly, in Empoli. And it’s worth noting that before Tottenham, Inter Milan’s sporting director Giuseppe Marotta was on Vicario’s trail in case Andre Onana would have left the club. It’s not a rise from nowhere but a slow, steady and continuous rise. Tottenham is making a smart deal here.”

Read More

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *