Newcastle United are reportedly considering whether to take legal action against AC Milan with their summer signing from the Italian giants, Sandro Tonali, facing a 10-month suspension.
The Italy midfielder moved to Newcastle over the summer in a £55m deal which, while was celebrated at the time, now looks something of an expensive mistake with Tonali facing up to a long ban after breaching betting regulations while in Italy.
Those charges relate to his time as a Milan player in which it is alleged he gambled on the Rossonneri to various matches. But with the series of bets being in serious breach of both FIFA and Italian FF rules, Tonali is the most high-profile star to be implicated following a lengthy investigation in Italy.
With Tonali admitting to the offences and cooperating with the authorities, it will mean the player will receive a much more lenient sentence.
However, as per widespread reports on Wednesday, Tonali is likely to be banned for 10 months, with the ruling to prematurely end his season and also ensuring he will miss Euro 2024 – with Italy looking to defend their title – and the opening weeks of the 2024/25 Premier League season.
Per claims that ban is likely to be made public later this week once all the legalities around the suspension are finalised. In addition to the 10-month ban, Tonali is also expected to have to undergo a further and additional eight months of social sanctions and rehabilitation for gambling addiction.
Crucially for Newcastle, however, the player will be granted permission to undergo that treatment in Newcastle and will still be allowed to train with his teammates on a daily basis.
Newcastle to take legal action over Sandro Tonali ban – report
That remains something of a small blessing for both Tonali and Newcastle, with the club feeling his continued integration as part of the first-team set-up will prove an important part of the healing process.
Publicly, Newcastle are very much backing their player and throwing their support around him in an effort to aid his rehabilitation from what has been described as an “addiction”.
To that end, Magpies boss Eddie Howe has called on the Toon Army to throw their support around Tonali and show him their love during what is clearly a very difficult time for the player.
“We will support him and back him and we see him being part of our team for many years, and I know that’s the same back from his side to us,” Howe said last week. “There are some things I feel you don’t have to say. We are committed to him long-term.”
But privately, The Sun claims the Magpies are seething at the development and are considering whether they have grounds to pursue a claim of compensation against Milan.
Questions remain over whether the Serie A giants knew of Tonali’s problem when selling him and were aware of illegal gambling probe prior to selling him.
And while Newcastle are yet to officially comment on the saga, they have reportedly vowed to, in The Sun‘s words, ‘pursue all legal options’.
Howe provides Tonali update
Tonali, meanwhile, has been granted the chance to say his farewells to St James’ Park on Wednesday night as the Magpies lost 1-0 to Borussia Dortmund.
The 23-year-old was a 65th-minute substitute for Sean Longstaff on the night but was unable to affect the result in a positive way as Felix Nmecha’s goal on the stroke of half-time proved decisive.
Tonali looked emotional at full-time as he greeted the Toon Army and, perhaps, understandably so, with the game likely to be his last in a Newcastle shirt for some time.
Speaking after the game, Howe was giving little away about what would happen next for the Italian.
“I’ve got no update for you, I’m afraid because I’ve been concentrating on the game.
“I thought Sandro did well when he came on tonight – I thought he played with real quality and energy. I was delighted with his performance.”
Tonali signed a five-year deal at St James’ Park upon signing from Milan and is contracted to the club until 2028. He earns a reported £7m a year and reports in Italy suggest Newcastle will not be obliged to continue paying him during his time on the sidelines.
In the meantime, it remains to be seen if his appearance on Wednesday will be the last time he will seen in action for the Magpies for quite some time.