Newcastle United issue strong response to ‘misguided’ £55m transfer reports

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Sandro Tonali was accused of not wanting to join Newcastle United from boyhood team AC Milan.

Eddie Howe has hit back at reports claiming Sandro Tonali had to be forced to join Newcastle United this summer.

Sources in Italy attempted to create a storm by claiming the 23-year-old was in tears when being told of AC Milan’s desire to sell him.

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Tonali’s left his boyhood club in a transfer worth £55million. Milan benefitted financially and Newcastle secured a player who made it clear he wanted to join the project,

Newcastle United’s £52million-rated midfielder Sandro Tonali. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)Newcastle United’s £52million-rated midfielder Sandro Tonali. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Newcastle United’s £52million-rated midfielder Sandro Tonali. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images) | Getty Images

“I think that’s been totally misguided,” the Magpies’ head coach said. “Sandro is very proud to be here and proud to wear the shirt and represent the club. That was made very clear to me early otherwise we wouldn’t have committed to the transfer.

“I’ve got no desire to drag anyone to Newcastle, they have to want to run here with no shoes on - that’s the mentality we want because you have to have that togetherness and desire to do well.”

Tonali made his first Newcastle appearance on Tuesday evening and was involved in Miguel Almiron’s opening first-half goal during the 2-1 win at Rangers.

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Supporters loved what they saw and so did Howe, who was equally encouraged by the Italian’s all-rounded display.

“I was very impressed, I thought he was excellent,” said Howe. “Everything we hoped he would bring he did and that first 45 minutes he was very calm, composed and technically at a really high level.

“He built good relationships with the players and looked at home in a black and white shirt. I haven’t spoke to him at any great length, it was just a quick nod and a smile after the game.

“He’ll show if he’s enjoying himself with his body language and how he plays. It certainly looks like he’s enjoying himself, certainly with the players around him in the first half, I’d be surprised if he didn’t enjoy playing that style of football with the players he was with because it was a really attractive style of football.”

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