Replacing Sandro Tonali: What next for Newcastle and Eddie Howe?

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Sandro Tonali had his 10-month ban confirmed after the Italian Football Federation concluded its investigation into the midfielder’s history or gambling. 

The Italian has been an important player for Eddie Howe since his arrival in the summer from AC Milan, making 12 appearances so far this season.

The defensive midfielder has impressed with tackling, passing range and ability to find himself in important defensive positions and was slowly growing into his role at St James’ Park.

However, he will now be unavailable for the rest of the season following the confirmation of his ban leaving Newcastle light in the midfield department.

Their lack of squad options was laid bare in the draw against Wolves, with the bench mostly consisting of defenders as Eddie Howe looks to plot further success this season.

Where do Newcastle turn now?

Howe has already alluded to the potential of using the loan market to improve his side.

His squad is short of quality options and the lack of strength in depth has been highlighted in the last two games against Dortmund and Wolves.

The Mirror reported earlier this week that the Magpies will look to Saudi Arabia for options to replace their 23-year-old defensive midfielder, with “Ruben Neves and N’golo Kante in their sights.”

Neves would be an interesting acquisition, with his profile being a good fit as well as the bonus of having plenty of Premier League experience. His range of passing is exceptional and might well be a better option in the short-term than even Tonali who was growing used to being in a new country and new league.

N’Golo Kante for his experience will be a good signing but his recent injury record might put Howe off from bringing the French International to the northeast with his already thin squad being pushed to the limits.

With the potential threat of FFP, a loan move might make more sense and with Tonali back this summer, it would be a move that is the most logical.

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