‘Absolutely no way’ - Newcastle United fire back at £52m transfer accusation

Newcastle United's Italian midfielder #08 Sandro Tonali (L) speaks with Newcastle United's English head coach Eddie Howe prior to enter the pitch during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Newcastle United and Borussia Dortmund at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)Newcastle United's Italian midfielder #08 Sandro Tonali (L) speaks with Newcastle United's English head coach Eddie Howe prior to enter the pitch during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Newcastle United and Borussia Dortmund at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)
Newcastle United's Italian midfielder #08 Sandro Tonali (L) speaks with Newcastle United's English head coach Eddie Howe prior to enter the pitch during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Newcastle United and Borussia Dortmund at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) | AFP via Getty Images
Eddie Howe has seen comments criticising Newcastle United for not knowing about Sandro Tonali’s betting addiction.

Eddie Howe has fired back at claims Newcastle United should have known about Sandro Tonali’s gambling addiction when signing the midfielder from AC Milan for £52million in the summer.

The 23-year-old has been handed a 10-month ban by the Italian Football Federation following an investigation into illegal betting activity, although FIFA is yet to ratify it, meaning the player is, as it stands, available for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Howe has seen comments accusing the Magpies of not carrying out full due diligence on Tonali but the head coach says “there’s absolutely no way we could have known”. AC Milan have denied all knowledge.

Newcastle United's Italian midfielder #08 Sandro Tonali (L) speaks with Newcastle United's English head coach Eddie Howe prior to enter the pitch during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Newcastle United and Borussia Dortmund at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)Newcastle United's Italian midfielder #08 Sandro Tonali (L) speaks with Newcastle United's English head coach Eddie Howe prior to enter the pitch during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Newcastle United and Borussia Dortmund at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)
Newcastle United's Italian midfielder #08 Sandro Tonali (L) speaks with Newcastle United's English head coach Eddie Howe prior to enter the pitch during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Newcastle United and Borussia Dortmund at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) | AFP via Getty Images

Speaking on Friday, ahead of the visit to Molineux, Howe said: "I’ve seen a lot of comments from people saying we should have known. There’s absolutely no way we could have known.

“You can put more resources into it, but there are some things you will never know about someone’s personal life. That’s just how it is. You make a signing in good faith.

“There will always be an element of risk with any player that we have signed, that any player we have signed historically, but these things can happen."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When the ban is imposed worldwide by FIFA, Newcastle are expected be without their marquee summer signing until August next year. He will, however, be able to train with his United teammates and play in friendlies.

Tonali has made 12 appearances for United and scored on his competitive debut against Aston Villa.

“Certainly with Sandro’s situation, if he is ultimately banned for that length of time, he’s going to have really difficult moments within that timeframe, a lot of attention on him initially, and that’s a difficult situation for him.” Howe said.

“But then no doubt there’ll be a period where it’s just training – wherever he trains – and no game, and that’s very difficult for any player to adjust to, especially when they’re fit and able to play, so that’s going to be a difficult one.

“The communication between us, me and my coaching staff and him, is going to be hugely important.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.