Newcastle signed Tonali from AC Milan during the summer, but were clearly not aware of the Italy international having a serious gambling problem, which has now landed him in trouble as he faces an extended period of being banned from playing.
According to Jacobs, speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside for his Daily Briefing column, Newcastle have a few names on their list of potential targets to replace Tonali, though it seems Ruben Neves doesn’t look a particularly realistic option at the moment.
The Portugal international only recently made the move from Wolves to Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal, and it seems we are currently unlikely to see him making a quick return to England.
Jacobs did name some other alternatives, however, with Kalvin Phillips among those, alongside Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay.
Phillips isn’t playing much for Manchester City at the moment so might be a realistic possibility, perhaps on loan, but McTominay is probably less of a realistic option for Newcastle as he’s now seen as more important to Erik ten Hag’s squad.
“Newcastle hope to add a midfielder during the January window as cover for the banned Sandro Tonali. Financial Fair Play remains an obstacle which is why the hope is Tonali will surrender some of his wages which will create a bit more financial leeway,” Jacobs said.
“Eddie Howe has already confirmed the club won’t be spending big and may even only look at loans, with Hugo Ekitike one such target. A lot will also depend on whether Newcastle can get out their Champions League group, which brings welcome income. That’s why the game at PSG tonight is so important.
“A loan for Ruben Neves may make a lot of sense in theory, but Newcastle haven’t actually started any talks despite Howe openly admitting he admires the Portugal international.
“Al-Hilal are not anticipating a mid-season exit, even after the Premier League vote on November 21 failed to ban related-party loans.”
He added: “Newcastle also still like Scott McTominay, but know he’s now become more integral to Manchester United since their original interest dating back to last January.
“Kalvin Phillips is another name of interest. An outright purchase, for financial reasons, will be very tricky in January, but a loan could benefit all parties. Phillips wants minutes ahead of Euro 2024.”