Fri 16 Feb 2024, 17:59 · Ash Harrison

£50m midfielder tipped to join Newcastle last summer has signed a new long-term deal with his club

£50m midfielder tipped to join Newcastle last summer has signed a new long-term deal with his club
Ivan Romano via Getty Images
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Just before Newcastle United swooped in and signed Italy midfielder Sandro Tonali in the summer, it was a different Italian midfielder who looked to be on his way to Tyneside.

For a couple of weeks leading up to the signing of Sandro Tonali (remember him?) all the speculation surrounding Newcastle's presence in Italy was that they were working on a deal to bring in Nicolo Barella from Inter Milan.

Whether or not there was any truth in this, we'll likely never know, given how quickly things moved on from Barella to Tonali. It just felt like Tonali was the deal that was being worked on the whole time and Barella was a misdirect.

Would Newcastle have been better off with Barella over Tonali?

There was also hope that both would make the journey from Milan to Newcastle, but only Tonali made the trip. Some fans may argue that we got the wrong one in light of what happened so early into Tonali's Newcastle career.

Newcastle were said to be negotiating a deal for Barella of around £50million although that soon crept up to £70million in some outlets, which could have been why the deal never happened.

If the Magpies were thinking of reigniting their interest in Barella they'll have their work cut out for them now as he just this week committed to Inter until 2029.

Newcastle's priorities have shifted since the summer

While that obviously doesn't mean he'll be at Inter for the entire duration of that contract, it does give Inter plenty of power to demand a hefty sum for his services, unless there are some release clauses hidden in the deal.

Newcastle could do with a number 6 next season, but as far as priorities go, a midfielder is way down the list behind a left-back, centre-back, right-winger and striker. Not that we're being greedy.

It's highly unlikely that Newcastle were going to revisit their interest in Barella anyway, but this will definitely have deterred the Magpies for this summer at least.

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