Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Newcastle eye ex-Prem midfielder in surprise Saudi raid to cover Sandro Tonali ban

Ruben Neves and Jordan Henderson

Newcastle are considering offsetting Sandro Tonali’s absence by bringing a former Premier League midfielder back to England despite only moving to Saudi Arabia four months ago, per a report.

Tonali, 23, has been banned from football for 10 months following revelations of illegal betting practices. The Italy international is ineligible to play again until August, with the punishment also ruling him out of Euro 2024.

As such, Newcastle will be without their £55m midfielder for the rest of the season. To offset the absence, speculation a replacement will be signed in January has swirled.

Among those the Magpies are considering is Kalvin Phillips who remains chronically underused at Manchester City.

A six-month loan would be preferrable and would also give Phillips a chance to get regular minutes under his belt ahead of Euro 2024.

However, according to a fresh update from the Sun, Newcastle have a classier option in mind.

They state Eddie Howe’s side have set their sights on former Wolves talisman, Ruben Neves.

The 26-year-old joined Al-Hilal for around £47m in June. The fee became Wolves’ new record sale until surpassed later in the window by Matheus Nunes’ £53m switch to Man City.

Neves is, as you might expect, a regular starter for Al-Hilal. However, the midfielder could be offered a temporary return to England in January.

Newcastle are reportedly exploring a loan move, presumably until the end of the current campaign.

Neves can operate in the holding midfield role, while he is also adept at playing in more of a box-to-box role either side of the anchor man.

Neves was regularly among Wolves’ top performers during his stellar six-year stint at Molineux. A move to one of England’s big hitters was regularly touted, though ultimately failed to materialise.

Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal had no qualms meeting Wolves’ £47m asking price over the summer. But if the Sun’s report is accurate, a temporary return to England by way of St. James’ Park could be on the horizon.

SOURCES: Bids feared, with Man City ‘hugely impressed’ by Newcastle, Aston Villa midfield target