Brescia president Massimo Cellino has confirmed that Sandro Tonali rejected more lucrative offers from the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona in order to join AC Milan.
Tonali is expected to complete his switch to Milan in the coming days, ending intense speculation over his future which has stretched back more than a year.
Inter Milan had been leading the race for the 20-year-old, but city rivals AC Milan now appear to have hijacked the deal – worth up to £31m – and Cellino confirmed that both clubs were outbid by Manchester United and Barcelona too.
“I know that [Inter’s CEO] Beppe Marotta really wanted Tonali, and that Antonio Conte appreciated him, so I think his agent had agreed terms with Inter,” Cellino told Top Calcio 24.
“He was determined and convinced that he was going to Inter, but all this time dragged on and it was practically the start of the new season with still nothing happening. As soon as Milan showed real interest, he did not want to listen to any other options.
“I also have a historically good rapport with Milan and we reached an agreement with [AC Milan’s technical director] Paolo Maldini quite quickly. We also had interest from Barcelona and Manchester United, but the lad is in love with Milan and went crazy once he heard of their offer, because he supports them.
“Those figures are correct. But we turned down €65m (£58m) from Barcelona in January and about a dozen days ago Manchester United had offered €10m (£9m) more than Milan.”
Milan’s deal for Tonali is thought to see them pay an initial €10m (£9m) loan fee with an option to buy for €15m (£13m) and a further €10m (£9m) in add-ons.