Sandro Tonali is Here

The Power of Sandro Tonali: AC Milan to Newcastle United

AC Milan star Sandro Tonali was announced as Newcastle United’s latest signing earlier this week. He leaves his boyhood club to join Eddie Howe’s men, who will be competing in the Champions League for the first time in two decades, also becoming the most expensive Italian player in history.

All-action, tenacious, and fearless, Sandro Tonali provided a great deal of energy in the centre of the park and helped lead Milan to the Scudetto in the 2021/22 season. His winning goal away to Lazio in April of that season all but clinched the title is a moment that will live long in the memories of all Milan fans.

Sandro Tonali also played a key role in reaching the Champions League semi-final last season, featuring in every game throughout the campaign. While the club will receive a considerable amount of money from the transfer (a reported £52 million), he certainly leaves big boots to fill for whoever is brought in as his replacement.

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In the process, however, Sando Tonali breaks the hearts of many Milanisti, who often saw themselves in him as a lifelong fan living out a dream. Despite starting his professional career at then-Serie B Brescia at the age of 17, Sandro Tonali finally got his move to his beloved AC Milan in July 2021, in a transfer that felt something like a homecoming. Inspired by his grandmother, Sandro Tonali is a lifelong fan of the club, making his decision to swap San Siro for St. James’s Park an emotional one.

When the news broke of this potential transfer, there was much speculation and doubt over whether it would ever happen. The foremost reason for this was his personal connection to Milan, and Sandro Tonali had previously demonstrated his commitment to the club by accepting a salary reduction to stay at the club last season.

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There was no other club that could tempt Sando Tonali away from Giuseppe Meazza, or so it seemed. Given Sandro Tonali’s well-known ties with the club, he was likely the last person anyone expected to leave this summer. However, following the harsh sacking of Paolo Maldini last month, Chief Executive Officer Gerry Cardinale now lies at the helm, and this means any player on Milan’s roster is available if you have the cash.

The unexpected departure of Sandro Tonali has brought heavy backlash from fans, who are at the mercy of the club’s approach to transfers. Although no transfer is possible without the player wanting to go, it remains unclear whether Sando Tonali made this decision or if it was made for him.

A key driver in Sandro Tonali’s decision to join Newcastle was Eddie Howe. Since Howe’s appointment as head coach in November 2021, following the takeover of the Saudi-led consortium, Newcastle has gone from strength to strength.

Finishing last season in fourth, the Magpies qualified for the Champions League for the first time since the 2002/03 season, when Alan Shearer and Nobby Solano were among the names on the team sheet. Howe is clearly looking to add strength and depth to the squad, which Sandro Tonali will certainly bring. Harvey Barnes is another player rumoured to be joining this summer.

It is expected that the 23-year-old will slot into the deepest midfield position alongside Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton, likely in Howe’s preferred 4-3-3 formation.

The transfer brings competition to this area of the pitch for Newcastle, with Joe Willock and Sean Longstaff also fighting for a place in the first eleven. Aston Villa is their first opponent this season, whom they play at home on the opening weekend.

Before then, Newcastle will face Rangers, Aston Villa, Brighton, and Chelsea as part of their pre-season campaign. These fixtures may provide some insight as to how Howe’s men will line up when the Premier League kicks off on August 11.

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