Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Eddie Howe in dreamland with quality Newcastle target desperate to join and replace Sandro Tonali

Eddie Howe, the manager of Newcastle United , with St James' Park stadium in the background

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe

Newcastle United have been given a massive boost in their hunt to replace Sandro Tonali, as new target Ruben Neves reportedly ‘dreams’ of making such a move.

On Saturday morning, Newcastle confirmed that Tonali will be banned for 10 months after being found guilty of betting breaches while in Italy. He will not be able to play for the Magpies again until August 2024 and will also miss next year’s European Championship, should Italy qualify.

Tonali’s ban is a huge blow for Newcastle as they spent £55million when completing a statement deal for him over the summer. The 23-year-old was brought to St James’ Park to take Eddie Howe’s midfield to the next level, but the manager will now have to operate without him.

Newcastle have already begun the process of trying to find Tonali’s replacement before the January transfer window begins. They are interested in Manchester City outcast Kalvin Phillips and in-form Manchester United player Scott McTominay.

However, Newcastle could instead complete a raid on a team outside of Europe. On Friday, it emerged that Newcastle are plotting a move to bring Neves back to England. Of course, the 26-year-old raised eyebrows in the summer when he swapped Wolves for Saudi club Al Hilal.

According to the latest from Portuguese newspaper O Jogo (via Sport Witness), Newcastle have a great chance of improving Howe’s midfield with Neves’ capture. That is because Neves ‘dreams’ of returning to the Premier League, with Newcastle poised to offer him that chance.

Newcastle’s pursuit will be helped by the fact both clubs are owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF). It is likely Neves will join the Magpies on an initial loan, and the move could be made permanent if the player shines in the north east.

Ruben Neves offered ‘golden opportunity’ to make PL return

While Neves is picking up a huge wage in the Middle East, he wants to get back playing at the highest level, with the Premier League the strongest division in the world. The Saudi Pro League has also seen a sharp drop in attendances recently, despite the influx of big names from Europe.

Amid these factors, Newcastle can give Neves a ‘golden opportunity’ to get back to his best while competing against elite players.

Neves would also be the perfect signing for Newcastle while they are without Tonali. He has bags of experience at the top level, having captained Wolves during his time at Molineux and also played 44 times for the Portugal national team.

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