Sandro Tonali reveals the people who convinced him to make £52m Newcastle United move

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Sandro Tonali’s first interview as a Newcastle United player has been published by the football club.

Sandro Tonali says he decided to join Newcastle United after the football club showed they wanted him “at all costs”.

Negotiations between Newcastle and AC Milan got underway a fortnight ago when sporting director Dan Ashworth and head of recruitment Steve Nickson travelled to Milan for face-to-face talks.

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It was at the Palazzo Parigi Hotel in Milan where a transfer fee of £52million plus add-ons was agreed. Nickson then immediately flew to Romania with Tonali’s representatives to meet the central midfielder at his under-21s European Championship base.

Sandro Tonali is due on Tyneside on Wednesday after being confirmed as a Newcastle United player. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)Sandro Tonali is due on Tyneside on Wednesday after being confirmed as a Newcastle United player. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)
Sandro Tonali is due on Tyneside on Wednesday after being confirmed as a Newcastle United player. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

A week after Italy’s group stage exit from the tournament, Tonali finally touched down on Tyneside on Wednesday, where he visited the club’s Benton training base and St James’ Park, before flying back to Italy 24 hours later.

The 23-year-old will now enjoy a short break before linking up with his new teammates for pre-season.

Tonali on Newcastle move - and Eddie Howe

Reflecting on his move to Newcastle during his first interview, Tonali told NUFCTV: “Well, there were a lot of steps. The most important one was when they notified me about the interest from Newcastle United.

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“I took it well as I knew it was something real and concrete, therefore we thought differently compared to the other times.

“Every year there was some interest, and people showed that they really wanted me here at all costs. The people who convinced me to come here were an essential part of this transfer. Then everything after this is a project in progress that needs to be carried out.”

Tonali revealed Magpies’ head coach Eddie Howe was among those to convince him to make the move.

“He was one of those people who wanted me here. I hope to meet him as soon as possible, and I’m looking forward to starting this journey together with him.

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“Everyone has told me nice things about him. They told me about his background, not to mention what this year was like for him. I hope to start this job together very soon.”

Tonali on the difficulty of leaving AC Milan

Tonali spent three seasons at his boyhood team Milan, where he helped the club win their first Scudetto in 11 years as well as reach the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2007 last season.

On leaving Rossoneri, Tonali said: “Let’s say it is one of the most difficult decisions since I became a football player. It was difficult but it had to be done. The moment to do it had come, so we decided to follow this new path.

“After overcoming this, it will be a very steep learning curve because the whole journey will be difficult but it’s a great opportunity and something to take on.”

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