- Sandro Tonali’s 10-month ban was enforced worldwide by FIFA on Friday
- Newcastle are looking for protection in midfield after the suspension of the Italian international
- Al-Hilal’s Ruben Neves is reportedly among the midfielders under consideration
Newcastle are reportedly considering a loan move for Ruben Neves to bolster their midfield options after Sandro Tonali’s 10-month football ban was confirmed.
Italian authorities announced Tonali’s ban on illegal betting on Thursday, and FIFA expanded the sanction worldwide on Friday.
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe had hoped the £52million summer signing would be available for Saturday’s game against Wolves, but the Italian will now be out of action until the early weeks of next season.
The Magpies could turn to a former Wolves player to help them fill the void left by Tonali’s sanction.
Reports have claimed Newcastle are considering a move for Portugal international Neves during the January transfer window.
Newcastle are reportedly considering a loan move for Al Hilal midfielder Ruben Neves
The Magpies are looking for cover in midfield after Sandro Tonali was suspended for ten months
Eddie Howe has not yet ruled out loaning players from Saudi PIF-owned teams
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Neves signed for Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal for £47m in the summer. The 26-year-old left Wolves after making 253 appearances in six seasons at Molineux.
Al-Hilal is one of four Saudi Pro League teams owned by the country’s Public Investment Fund, which also owns a majority stake in Newcastle.
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe admitted in July he would not rule out loaning players from PIF-owned clubs in Saudi Arabia.
“That depends on whether it’s the right thing for Newcastle.” “We will always act in our best interests first,” Howe said.
Neves has played 14 games for Al-Hilal since joining the club, with the midfielder scoring once.
A loan move for Neves would reportedly mean Newcastle are unlikely to sign out-of-favour Man City midfielder Kalvin Phillips on a permanent basis due to Financial Fair Play issues.
Newcastle travel to Wolves on Saturday in their first game without Tonali, then the Magpies face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
A statement from the Italian Football Federation on Thursday confirmed that federal prosecutors had reached an agreement with Tonali on an 18-month sanction.
Neves impressed for six seasons at Wolves before joining Al-Hilal in the summer
The sanction will be a ten-month ban from football, while eight months will take the form of a “therapeutic plan” to support his “recovery from gambling addiction”.
This includes at least 16 public appearances in Italy at amateur sports associations and “federal territorial centers”.
Tonali was also fined £17,380 for breaching FIGC rules, which banned players from placing bets on football events organized by FIGC, UEFA and FIFA.
Unlike Brentford’s Ivan Toney, Tonali is expected to be allowed to take part in training and games behind closed doors in Newcastle, but will be ruled out of the Euros race should Italy qualify.
Meanwhile, reports claim that Newcastle are looking at ways to reduce Sandro Tonali’s salary at the club during the suspension.