Thu 19 Oct 2023, 16:24 · Ash Harrison

Report: Newcastle could revisit interest in Al-Hilal midfielder as replacement for Sandro Tonali

Report: Newcastle could revisit interest in Al-Hilal midfielder as replacement for Sandro Tonali
France 24
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Newcastle United may reignite their interest in former Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves as cover for Sandro Tonali.

In case it had somehow escaped your attention, Newcastle's £55million summer signing Sandro Tonali is facing a lengthy ban from football for offences relating to betting in his native Italy while he was an AC Milan player.

That leaves Eddie Howe in a bit of a pickle when it comes to team selection. After forking out such a vast amount of money for a player, you're going to want to play him - unless you're Pep Guardiola buying Kalvin Phillips from Leeds that is.

Eddie Howe will be re-thinking his January plans if/when Tonali is banned

Even though it's still a couple of months away, Newcastle will now be having to re-think their entire strategy for the January transfer window as they look to plug the gap that may be left by Tonali's impending punishment.

With this in mind, Luke Edwards has written in The Telegraph that Newcastle may approach Al-Hilal about loaning Ruben Neves for the rest of the season.

Ruben Neves
Arab News
Ruben Neves in his Al Hilal shirt

Newcastle were interested in Neves in the summer, but the former Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder opted to join another PIF-owned club in Al-Hilal rather than stay in the Premier League with Newcastle.

So, a previous interest and a link in ownership was all Edwards needed to turn that into a story it seems. He also mentioned Manchester City's Kalvin Phillips who has been linked with Newcastle for a while now, as well as Manchester United's Scott McTominay.

It's a McTomi-nay from the Toon Army

McTominay is another player who has been constantly linked with Newcastle since the summer, and even after scoring a stoppage-time brace for Man United recently, still isn't favoured by the Toon Army.

As far as a move for Neves goes, if Newcastle were to try and loan him from Al-Hilal, we can already imagine the kick-off that will cause. The fact that Newcastle sold Allan Saint-Maximin to Al Ahli in the summer caused ructions, even though he went there for under market value.

Ironically, the fuss seemed to come from clubs that were quite happy to take Saudi money for their own players, for sums way beyond what they were worth. So if we loan a player from Saudi who just moved there in the summer, it's hardly going to be worth the hassle.