Five players who Newcastle United could sign in the January transfer window to replace Sandro Tonali.
Newcastle United could be forced to search for a Sandro Tonali replacement in the January transfer window, as the Italian midfielder is set for a stint out of the Magpies starting-11.
It’s claimed that betting offences committed by Tonali while at AC Milan could lead to the midfielder being banned for a period of time, with those close to the Italian publically dubbing him a ‘gambling addict’. It comes at a killer time for Newcastle, who had spent £55 million on Tonali during the summer transfer window and were starting to reap the rewards of the 23-year-old talent.
However, with the damming news about his suspension, a gap has opened up in the Newcastle squad for a midfielder to join in January. As a result, GIVEMESPORT have scoured the market for five suitable short-term options to fix the Tonali-shaped hole in Eddie Howe’s side.
5. Adrien Rabiot
Linked with a Premier League switch for some time now, Adrien Rabiot could be one player the Newcastle hierarchy turns towards to fix their Tonali problem. A combative midfielder, Rabiot has been linked with a move away from Juventus in recent years and the Frenchman could find solace at St. James’ Park.
Capable of playing as a lone six in front of the defence, or as part of a midfield pairing, Rabiot would be able to deputise for Tonali while he’s suspended. According to FBref statistics, Rabiot is ranked inside the top eight per cent of midfielders for touches inside the opposition penalty area, which would help make up for Tonali’s attacking ability.
What’s more, Newcastle could also benefit from Rabiot’s current contract situation with the Serie A outfit, given its expiry date is looming fast. The World Cup winner will be out of contract with Juventus at the end of the season, meaning the record Italian champions could be tempted to cash in this January, should Rabiot make it clear he isn’t willing to extend.
4. Emile Smith Rowe
A wildcard option to replace Tonali, Emile Smith Rowe is by no means a like-for-like substitute, but the Arsenal academy graduate could still prove a useful option. Crucially, Smith Rowe would also be able to play alongside Tonali, when the Italian international returns from his ban.
Finding minutes on the field hard to come by under Mikel Arteta at the Emirates, there have been whispers that Smith Rowe could ditch Arsenal in the January window, with Newcastle one of the sides monitoring his situation. Journalist Ben Jacobs recently told GIVEMESPORT that the Magpies were discussing Smith Rowe as a potential transfer option, before news broke about Tonali’s situation.
That being said, while Smith Rowe would undoubtedly be a quality addition for Newcastle, there may be questions about the price tag Arsenal decide to slap on his shoulders. It’s claimed a fee of £60 million or so may tempt the Gunners into a sale, which could end up pushing Newcastle towards other targets instead.
3. Andrey Santos
Contracted to Chelsea but currently on loan at Nottingham Forest, Andrey Santos could prove the most cost-effective option for Newcastle. The midfielder secured a summer move to the City Ground in search of regular game time, but in the early part of the season, that hasn’t proved to be the case.
In the first eight Premier League matches of the season, Santos failed to see the pitch once, with his only outing for the Nottingham-based outfit coming in a League Cup defeat against Burnley. Not exactly what the Chelsea chiefs would’ve had in mind when they sanctioned the loan move, talk of Santos being recalled in January could start to gather pace, should the teenager’s minutes continue to stagnate.
And if that does turn out to be the case, he will of course become available for another transfer, perhaps even to St. James’ Park. Stories circulating in the wake of the Tonali revelation have suggested that Santos is a player who could be targeted by Newcastle, should his Nottingham Forest stint be brought to an end early.
2. Scott McTominay
Had things worked out slightly differently for Scott McTominay this summer, the Scottish international might’ve already been lining up in the Newcastle starting-11. It was reported at the back end of last season that Newcastle were eyeing up a move for McTominay, but United were only said to be considering offers in the region of £50 million.
Suffice to say that no club fancied splashing that kind of cash on the Lancaster-born star, with McTominay remaining part of the United set-up beyond the summer deadline. That could change this coming winter though, with talk of Newcastle rekindling their interest starting to pick up once again.
Much like Tonali, McTominay is a player capable of playing in a number of positions across the midfield and could prove a useful asset to Howe’s side. What’s more, at just 26 years old, the best years of McTominay’s career are still yet to come, which could allow Newcastle to benefit long-term if they brought the United man in this January.
1. Kalvin Phillips