£47m Tonali replacement green lights ‘shock’ Newcastle transfer with ex-PL star eyeing ‘dream’ move

Lewis Oldham
Newcastle target Neves
Ruben Neves in action for Al-Hilal.

According to reports, former Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves would love to sign for Newcastle United during the winter transfer window.

The Magpies – who are sixth in the 2023 Premier League net spend table – spent around £55m to sign Sandro Tonali from Serie A giants AC Milan during the summer transfer window.

Tonali has struggled at the start of this season and he will now miss the rest of the 2023/24 campaign after negotiating a plea bargain with Italian authorities over his betting offences.

The midfielder was one of Newcastle’s marquee signings during the recent summer window and they will have to identify a replacement in January.

Man City outcast Kalvin Phillips has been heavily linked with a move to St James’ Park in recent weeks but Neves is reportedly also on Newcastle’s radar.

The Sun claim ‘Newcastle are targeting a shock swoop for Neves’, who left Wolves to join Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Hilal for around £47m a couple of months ago.

The report added: ‘Eddie Howe’s Toon are now stepping up plans for a January replacement with Al-Hilal midfielder Neves and Manchester City outcast Kalvin Phillips both under consideration.

‘But Al-Hilal, like Newcastle, are owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund and the Magpies are exploring a loan move after losing their £55million star summer signing until the start of the next season.’

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A report from Portuguese outlet O Jogo (via Sport Witness) claims Neves ‘dreams’ of a January move to Newcastle as he is reportedly keen to return to the Premier League.

It is hoped that Newcastle’s owners could ‘facilitate a loan’ involving Neves and the Premier League outfit are ‘already preparing for that’.

Neves is said to be ‘harbouring the hope’ of returning to the Premier League and a move to Newcastle is described as a ‘golden opportunity’ to realise this wish.

Regarding Tonali, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is aware that the centre-midfielder is facing a tough spell on the sidelines.

“Certainly with Sandro’s situation, if he is ultimately banned for that length of time, he’s going to have really difficult moments within that timeframe, a lot of attention on him initially, and that’s a difficult situation for him.

“But then no doubt there’ll be a period where it’s just training – wherever he trains – and no game, and that’s very difficult for any player to adjust to, especially when they’re fit and able to play, so that’s going to be a difficult one.

“The communication between us, me and my coaching staff and him, is going to be hugely important.”

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