Newcastle United could cover for the absence of Sandro Tonali by investing a similar transfer fee towards the signing of Teun Koopmeiners from Atalanta, according to reports.
Tonali will play no further part for Newcastle this season after being banned from football until August due to betting offences. After spending around €70m to sign him over the summer, his unavailability has become a major blow for Eddie Howe’s side.
Newcastle are now weighing up their options in midfield ahead of the January transfer window. One target could be Ruben Neves on loan from Al Hilal, just months after he left Premier League outfit Wolves.
The obvious connection is that Al Hilal share the same Saudi investors as Newcastle (the Public Investment Fund).
According to Tuttosport, another option Newcastle are keeping a keen eye on is Koopmeiners. In fact, they have reportedly scouted him in action for Atalanta a couple of times already this season.
To prise him out of Bergamo, though, Newcastle would need to practically match the price they paid AC Milan for Tonali in the summer. Indeed, the report claims Atalanta are aiming to receive between €60m and €70m for the Netherlands international, after rejecting a €45m offer from Napoli earlier this year.
In other words, Newcastle would have to pay somewhere in the region of £52.1m to £60.7m to tempt Atalanta into selling Koopmeiners, given that they recently extended his contract from 2025 until 2028 behind the scenes.
According to the report, Koopmeiners has earned a pay rise thanks to his new deal and now takes home €2.5m per season (approximately £41,700 per week).
What would Koopmeiners bring to Newcastle?
Koopmeiners joined Atalanta from AZ in 2021 and has since amassed 90 appearances for the club, from which he has scored 17 goals and added 10 assists. He has played 12 times for them this season (only missing one match due to injury) and has got three goals and two assists in that time.
One of the benefits of bringing in Koopmeiners for Newcastle would be that he can play in a variety of midfield roles. This season, he has generally been deployed in a slightly more attacking role, whereas he has sat in front of the defence before.
If Newcastle were to add him to their squad in January, he could operate in a similar role to what they had in mind for Tonali, or another one altogether, whereby he could eventually complement the Italy international next season.
Furthermore, Koopmeiners has played in both the Champions League and the Europa League during his time with Atalanta, which is the kind of territory Newcastle are aiming to consolidate themselves in after earning the right to play in the former this season.
Interestingly, Tuttosport suggests Atalanta are hoping Newcastle take the Neves solution in the short-term, since they would prefer to postpone any decision about Koopmeiners’ future until the summer of 2024.
But they will still be bracing themselves in case Newcastle do firm up their interest in the Dutchman against their wishes.