Newcastle United has kicked off its summer transfer window with the exciting acquisition of Sandro Tonali, the highly regarded midfielder from AC Milan. In a bold move, Newcastle has invested a substantial £70 million to secure Tonali’s services, signaling their ambition to strengthen the team’s midfield and elevate the performance of their entire squad. Known as the “next Andrea Pirlo,” Tonali brings a wealth of talent and experience to St. James’ Park.
Tonali’s arrival is expected to significantly bolster Newcastle’s midfield and enhance its chances in the upcoming UEFA Champions League campaign. As they embark on this prestigious competition, they’ll need to reinforce their squad with seasoned players. Tonali’s previous experience in the Champions League will undoubtedly prove invaluable in Newcastle’s pursuit of success on the European stage.
The signing of Tonali is particularly significant as defensive midfielders play a pivotal role in the modern game. With his arrival, Newcastle now boasts a formidable defensive presence in midfield. Tonali is poised to provide much-needed stability to the team’s defensive efforts while also adding a touch of flair and creativity to their offensive play.
Sandro Tonali is an Italian football player who plays as a midfielder. He began his professional career with Brescia Calcio in Serie B. Tonali made his debut for Brescia in August 2017 at the age of 17. During his first season, he made 19 league appearances, scoring two goals and providing two assists.
In the following season, Tonali played a key role as Brescia won the Serie B title and earned promotion to Serie A. He featured as a starter for the club throughout the entire 2018-2019 season.
In August 2019, Tonali made his Serie A debut for Brescia, scoring his first goal later that season with a long-range free kick. Despite Brescia’s relegation, Tonali’s performances caught the attention of top clubs.
In September 2020, Tonali joined AC Milan on a season-long loan with an option to buy. He made his competitive debut for Milan in the Europa League qualifying and Serie A matches. Tonali finished the season with 37 appearances, 23 of which were as a starter.
In July 2021, Milan purchased Tonali’s rights from Brescia, and he signed a five-year contract with the club. He had a successful season with Milan, helping them win the Serie A title in 2022. Tonali scored several goals and provided assists during the season, earning praise from fans and football pundits.
Tonali’s performances have earned him recognition in Italian football, with pundits comparing him to some of Milan’s greatest players from the past. His ability to contribute both defensively and offensively has made him a valuable asset for his club.
How Will Tonali Fit In At Newcastle?
Sandro Tonali’s arrival at Newcastle United brings a player with a skillset that is expected to seamlessly integrate into the team’s midfield this season. The 23-year-old Italian international is renowned for his tenacity, quality, and dynamism, which will undoubtedly enhance Eddie Howe’s side. Tonali’s athleticism and proactive pressing style make him a driving force in midfield, capable of creating chances and pushing the team forward. He is likely to be utilized in one of the twin No. 8 positions, flanking Bruno Guimaraes.
One notable aspect of Tonali’s game is his remarkable durability. He rarely misses matches through injury, and in the 2022/23 season, no player at AC Milan played more matches or minutes than him. While his passing ability is commendable, Tonali primarily excels as a ball-winner and a creator in the opponent’s half. In Serie A last season, he won an impressive average of 2.1 tackles per 90 minutes with a success rate of 64.1%. Additionally, Tonali stood out with his creative prowess, leading Milan with 90 key passes across 48 matches in all competitions.
Tonali’s standout performances in Milan’s UEFA Champions League run further emphasize his value as a player for the big occasions. He showcased his ability to impact games as a box-to-box midfielder, contributing significantly to Milan’s success. Despite being considered more workmanlike than flashy, Tonali created the highest number of big chances in the Champions League last season, further demonstrating his ability to generate opportunities. Only Jack Grealish and Piotr Zielinski surpassed him in overall chances created.
The Italian midfielder possesses various attributes that contribute to his chance creation ability. He excels at providing through-balls and accurate crosses from the right corner of the box, often breaking into the final third to slip passes to his teammates. Tonali’s effectiveness in creating chances is also evident from set-pieces, with six of his 11 assists for Milan originating from corners and wide free-kicks.
Within Eddie Howe’s system, Tonali is well-suited to Newcastle’s aggressive style of play, which emphasizes strong off-the-ball work, fast transitions, and counter-attacks. While he is capable of playing as the deepest-lying midfielder, Howe is likely to deploy him to the left or right of the center, competing with players like Joe Willock, Joelinton, and Sean Longstaff for a starting position. Given Willock’s successful partnership with Joelinton on the left, it is plausible that Tonali will begin on the right of a midfield three.
From a technical perspective, Tonali may require some time to acclimate to the speed of the Premier League. In the early weeks, it would be prudent for him to focus on simple distribution and quick ball movement. However, as he settles into the team and adjusts to the demands of English football, Tonali should prove to be an excellent addition to Howe’s squad.
Priced at 5.5million in FPL, Tonali is a player that has the potential to be a viable fantasy option. The thing that make him stand out most is the danger he possesses from set plays. Last season, six of his 11 assists for Milan originated from corners and wide free kicks.
That’s something that could work in his favor this season, considering how dangerous Newcastle are from set-plays. Tonali’s inclusion in the squad could reduce the appeal of the likes of Trippier, who may now have to share some set pieces with his club’s new Italian.
Tonali could also boost the appeal of players like Bruno Guimarães. The addition of Tonali to the midfield could free Guimarães to play a more advanced role and that would make Guimarães an even more attractive player in FPL.
Overall it is “wait and see” for Tonali though; there’s no need to rush in and buy him from the start. We have reason to expect good things from him though. Tonali brings valuable experience as a title-winner and a player with a proven big-match temperament. Furthermore, he possesses ample room for further development, suggesting that his impact at Newcastle could continue to grow. His arrival signifies Newcastle’s ambition to strengthen their squad for the challenges ahead, particularly in their UEFA Champions League campaign. As Tonali settles into his new environment, Newcastle fans can look forward to witnessing his tenacity, creativity, and ability to drive the team forward in pursuit of success.
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