How to replace Tonali at Newcastle?
Newcastle United's Italian midfielder, Sandro Tonali, has been hit with a ten-month suspension from football due to a betting scandal. This development has sent shockwaves through the Magpies' camp, especially considering Tonali's stellar performance for the club since his arrival this summer.
Tonali seamlessly integrated into Eddie Howe's midfield rotation, a sector of the pitch that had been a considerable strength for Newcastle in what has otherwise been an impressive season. The team currently sits in sixth place, just four points away from the coveted Champions League spots.
In the eight out of nine league games he played, totaling 438 minutes, Tonali made a significant impact on the pitch. His absence will undoubtedly be felt. The big question now is, what's next for Newcastle?
The transfer window remains closed until January, but it's safe to assume that the Magpies will be actively searching for a replacement. After all, Tonali won't be available for the remainder of this season, not to mention the start of the next.
Replacing Tonali is no small task, as he demonstrated great versatility, comfortably slotting into various midfield roles, such as the number 6 or 8 positions. The rumors are bound to start swirling, and one name that emerges as a possible target is Manchester City's Kalvin Phillips. Phillips has seen limited playing time at City and could be available for a loan deal.
However, looking in-house might also be a viable option. Isaac Hayden had impressed during his time at St. James' Park. Despite this, the new ownership's heavy spending made it difficult for him to secure regular minutes, resulting in his loan to Standard Liege earlier this season, where he has excelled.
With 171 games under his belt at Newcastle, Hayden stands as an obvious choice for a short-term recall. Nonetheless, it's crucial to acknowledge that he is not a direct replacement for Sandro Tonali. Newcastle might be gearing up to make a significant move in the January transfer window, as they search for a player capable of filling the void left by the talented Italian midfielder.