Former Empoli defender Francesco Pratali has said that Kristjan Asllani has always been an Inter fan and has also always been a strong player from a young age, according to a report in the Italian print media today.

Speaking during an interview with Tuttosport today, Francesco Pratali talked about the Albanian midfielder who looks set to join Inter in the coming days after a highly impressive debut season in Serie A.

The former defender explained how Kristjan Asllani used to be out in the square playing football all the time and showing how strong he was.

“At football level he grew up in Butese, then when he was 6-7 years old I advised him to choose Empoli, where I played: it’s a club that values young people.

“You could see him at the bar picking up chips. He really looked like Oliver Hutton from Holly and Benji. Even at the age of six he was already dribbling incredibly well: he would spend hours practising in the piazzetta and playing with his friends. Kristjan has always been strong.”

One key feature of Kristjan Asllani’s game is the fact that he can use his right and left feet without breaking stride. It is an incredibly useful trait to have for young players.

“He has always been ambidextrous. He can kick the same way and with the same precision: something that is impressive now, let alone when he did it as a kid with corner kicks.

“His personality is impressive. He plays at the San Siro, like it is in the village square. Asllani is a top in this respect.”

It is widely believed that he is being signed by Inter as the backup to Marcelo Brozovic and eventual successor. Francesco Pratali feels that he is perfect for this role.

“Deputy Brozovic? Perfect. He is someone who sees the long and short game. He has technical quality and runs a lot.

“He is a top club player. He can also play as a midfielder and trequartista. As a head, he is a great guy, with great humility.”

He then finally added that Kristjan Asllani has been an Inter fan all of his life but his dad is not.

“Asllani has always been a Nerazzurri fan. His father is an AC Milan fan, but now he will see that his father will change teams.”