Newcastle ‘consider’ move for former Premier League captain as they ‘identify’ Sandro Tonali replacement

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Newcastle are lining up a shock move for one of the Saudi Pro League’s most exciting talents

Newcastle United are considering a shock move for a former Premier League captain as they aim to fill the void of midfielder Sandro Tonali.

The Italian midfielder signed for Newcastle this summer for a blockbuster fee of £55m and has played 12 games for the club in all competitions this season. But he now faces a 10-month ban from football as a result of betting breaches which were committed during his time at AC Milan.

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Tonali has a ‘high chance’ of playing in Newcastle’s upcoming game against Wolves this weekend, according to manager Eddie Howe. However, it is likely to be one of his last games in Black and White for a sustained period of time. The situation with Tonali leaves Newcastle in limbo and short on options in midfield as they try to acclimatise to the demands of thriving on the Champions League and domestic stage.

Newcastle are likely to rectify this issue with a move for a midfielder in January and one viable solution appears to be ex-Wolves captain Ruben Neves, according to reports from TalkSport, who claim the Magpies are considering a loan move for Neves. The ex-Porto star, who broke into the first team at just 17 years of age, established himself as an integral player at Wolves between 2017 and 2023.

During his six-year-stay at Wolves he helped the club earn promotion from the Championship to the Premier League and is also seen as a key focal point in the team which recorded back-to-back seventh place finishes.

Neves was an ever-present at the heart of Wolves’ midfield and was seen as an asset due to his leadership, technique and his ability to strike the ball from distance. He was awarded the club’s captaincy in August 2022 after the departure of Conor Coady and helped the team to safety last term.

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The 44-time Portuguese international was one of many high-profile players to make the move to Saudi Arabia this summer and he joined the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic, Kalidou Koulibaly and Neymar by joining Al-Hilal for a fee of around £47m. He has played 10 games since arriving in the Saudi Pro League, but Newcastle’s owners links could help them with the move.

Al-Hilal are one of the four major clubs in the division, who are 75 per cent owned by PIF, who also have an 80 per cent stake in Newcastle. Neves has not played Champions League football since leaving Porto in 2017 and his desire to return to an elite competition could entice him to St James’ Park.

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