Tonali, a defensive midfield whose role contrasts with that of fellow Italian youngster Nicolo Barella, is the latest player to be linked to the Magpies organization after the latter did so a few days ago.
While Italian media are making the assumption that Newcastle have moved to Tonali after giving up on Barella, outlets like The Athletic ($) indicate that the pursuit of Tonali is to fill a defensive role in the midfield in order to allow Bruno Guimaraes to play higher up the pitch in his preferred role and position.
Tonali is an Italy international who hasn’t quite yet broken in as a regular starter for the Azzurri. However, the 23-year-old was rewarded for his role in AC Milan’s Scudetto-winning campaign by getting handed the captain’s armband for this month’s U-21 European Championship.
While the defensive midfield role in Eddie Howe’s 4-3-3 was also linked to cheaper options in Southampton’s Romeo Lavia and Leeds’ Tyler Adams, Lavia has £40m buyback clause with Manchester City and Adams is recovering from hamstring surgery.
An Italy International captain with Champions League experience would certainly be the sexier—yet more expensive—option for the Magpies.
Contract-wise, AC Milan will be looking at several options and they’ll need to look deep into how they want to manage their budget. Looking at AC Milan’s current payroll, Tonali is the sixth-highest earner at €89k per week with his contract running through June 2027.
In Barella’s case, it could be argued his agent was using a fantastic season to galvanize a new contract.
Tonali had a strong season but he is already near the top of the payroll relative to his position and he had a lower goal tally than he achieved two years ago, making a renegotiation unlikely. Also, Milan upgraded the contract of superstar striker Rafael Leao just two weeks ago to get rid of transfer speculation until 2028 at the very least.
Following the investigative reporting of Twitter reports that tracked a private jet from Milan to Newcastle... can we assume this one is close to becoming a done deal?
Do you see Tonali as a viable transfer target? Or is Guimaraes perfect in the defensive half of the midfield, and this money should be spent to bolster the attack? Let us know in the comments section below!