Newcastle planning shock Saudi Pro League raid for Sandro Tonali replacement

Newcastle planning shock Saudi Pro League raid for Sandro Tonali replacement

Newcastle are reportedly turning to the Saudi Pro League for their Sandro Tonali replacement.

Tonali was banned for 10 months after illegal betting on football games following an investigation by the Italian football authorities.

The 23-year-old, who is battling a gambling addiction, co-operated fully and his lawyers were able to reduce the punishment from the maximum three year ban.

Despite the ongoing investigation, Tonali was given the go-ahead to feature for Newcastle as they beat Crystal Palace 4-0 on Saturday.

The 23-year-old was visibly emotional when walking off the pitch at St. James’ Park.

He then came on as a substitute in Newcastle's 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday but a day on, the decision on Tonali's suspension was reported by Fabrizio Romano, who says he will be unavailable for selection for 10 months.

It means he will play no part in the rest of Newcastle's season, while he will also miss the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany should Italy qualify.

At one point a maximum three-year suspension was touted as a potential punishment but the player's legal team have been able to negotiate a plea bargain.

Corriere dello Sport have claimed that Tonali's €8 million-a-year (£7 million-a-year) salary will be suspended but the Daily Mail say he will still be able to train with his teammates and maintain his fitness.

The 23-year-old signed for Newcastle in a £52 million switch from AC Milan and scored on his Premier League debut against Aston Villa.

He's made 12 appearances in all competitions but will not be able to play again until August.

Tonali must also undergo eight months of participation in a gambling rehab plan.

Speaking last week, Tonali's agent said: "I hope this gambling addiction issue will help to save Sandro's life as well as many other young guys affected by the same problem.

"Sandro understood that he has to focus on this issue and face up to the gambling addiction with a strong, determined approach."
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