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£47m ace open to Newcastle United move as Howe eyes Tonali replacement

Newcastle United could move for Al Hilal’s star Ruben Neves after losing Sandro Tonali to a betting ban and reports from Portugal suggest the former Wolves star is open to a Premier League return. 

Having lost their £60 million summer signing for the next ten months – Sandro Tonali’s debut season at St James’ Park brought to an early end – the good news is that Newcastle United’s Saudi Arabian connections could make the challenge of finding a short-term solution that little bit more straightforward. 

The Public Investment Fund which freed Newcastle from the clutches of Mike Ashley in 2021 also own Al-Hilal, the club who signed Ruben Neves from Wolverhampton Wanderers in a £47 million summer deal. 

Al Hilal v Al Ahli: Saudi Pro League
Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images

As such, there may be a deal to be struck. talkSPORT and The Telegraph both reporting that Newcastle could dip into the extensive PIF contact book in an attempt to sign Neves on a loan deal during the winter window. 

Newcastle could replace Tonali with Ruben Neves

The Portuguese playmaker, O Jogo adds, is likely to be open to a move. Neves is hoping to play Premier League football again in the near future, despite only moving to the Middle East a couple of months ago, and his supreme passing range could make the former FC Porto captain an ideal stylistic fit for a team counting the cost of Tonali’s suspension. 

The Italy international will now be unavailable until August 2024. He will, therefore, miss next summer’s European Championships in Germany, should Italy qualify of course.

“I see the person. I see the human, I see the pain and distress,” Howe told The Guardian last week, throwing his support behind Tonali.  

“That’s why my thoughts are always with the player and making sure we look after him. Sandro loves the game and is absolutely devastated.

“His thoughts are with us and our thoughts are with him. Hopefully between us we can make it work. The most important thing is Sandro and his welfare. It’s very easy for people to forget how young he is, the changes he’s had in his life coming from Italy to England. Footballers are human beings.” 

Newcastle face Wolves at Molineux

In addition to Neves, Newcastle are reportedly considering Manchester City misfit Kalvin Phillips and Manchester United’s Scott McTominay too.

The Magpies, meanwhile, face Neves’ former employers Wolves tonight.

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