Newcastle United embarked on a new chapter last summer with the acquisition of Sandro Tonali.

Yet the player’s involvement in a betting controversy caused a major blow for both his team and himself a few months after he signed.

After withdrawing from Italy’s squad in this month’s FIFA international break, the 23-year-old told police he had wagered on games while playing in Serie A.

Tonali was available to play on Wednesday as Eddie Howe’s team fell to Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League. Still, he played just 26 minutes off the bench in what would be his last game on the pitch in the 2023-24 campaign.

Tonali to miss Euro 2024 and early EPL season

Tonali accepted a plea deal that would keep him out of the game for the rest of the season. The head of the Italian FA, Gabriele Gravina, confirmed that a 10-month suspension with eight months of rehabilitation had been agreed upon and thanked Tonali for his participation during the process.

In order to treat his gambling addiction, an additional fine of $13,200 came his way. He also must follow a rehabilitation plan for at least six months. Due to claims that the midfielder bet on AC Milan games while still a member of the team, he was expecting a longer sentence initially.

But it’s thought that a shortened term was made possible by his desire to seek treatment for what his agent refers to as a ‘gambling addiction’ and his admission of guilt. He reportedly refrained from betting on the Rossoneri to lose games.

The Italian midfielder’s ban is scheduled to last until late August of the following year, during which time it is anticipated that he will be able to train with Newcastle. He will be absent from both Euro 2024 and the first weeks of the 2024-25 Premier League season.

Newcastle look to two former Premier League stars

The news of Tonali’s absence is a significant setback for Newcastle’s ambitions. This impacts their chances of securing silverware and making a deep run in the UEFA Champions League. As a result, the English club must swiftly revise their plans for the upcoming January transfer window.

The Magpies are reportedly already compiling a list of backup plans. Tonali’s absence would create a big hole. FFP constraints are the reason Newcastle cannot afford to replace Tonali permanently in January.

The Italian’s suspension means that the Magpies may have to dip into the market. Consequently, Eddie Howe’s team is contemplating a loan move for Ruben Neves, according to reports from talkSPORT.

Neves joined the Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal during the summer. This ended his six seasons at Wolves, in which he made 253 appearances at Molineux.

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia owns four Saudi Pro League teams, including Al-Hilal. The same organization also owns a controlling share in Newcastle. Meanwhile, as he plays for PIF-owned Al-Ittihad, N’Golo Kante is another player who caught their attention.

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