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Sandro Tonali to Newcastle: Magpies announce £55m signing of AC Milan midfielder

Sandro Tonali was among Newcastle's primary transfer targets this summer; the Italian midfielder was instrumental in Milan's progress to the Champions League semi-finals last season; Tonali has signed a contract at St James' Park until 2028

Image: Newcastle have signed Sandro Tonali for £55m

Newcastle have completed a £55m deal for AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali.

Tonali has agreed a five-year contract at St James' Park and becomes Newcastle's first signing of the summer transfer window.

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Mark McAdam describes Newcastle's move for Sandro Tonali from AC Milan as a 'statement signing' for the north east club

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said: "He is an exceptional talent and has the mentality, physicality and technical attributes to be a great fit for us.

"At 23, Sandro already has important experience as a key player in one of Europe's top leagues and in the Champions League, as well as playing for his country.

"But he also has the opportunity and potential to grow and evolve with us, and I'm excited to add him to our squad as we approach the exciting season ahead."

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Italian football expert Mina Rzouki gives greater insight into what Newcastle can expect from their new signing Sandro Tonali.

Gordon: Tonali one of the best midfielders in the world

Newcastle forward Anthony Gordon has described new signing Tonali as "one of the best midfielders in the world".

Tonali has just finished playing in the Under-21s European Championships, a tournament which Gordon is also starring in for England.

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"I knew him from his early days at Brescia. I remember seeing some clips of him before he went to Milan," Gordon said of Tonali after he fired England into the semi-finals of the tournament.

"He has excelled and is one of the top midfielders in the world. It shows the direction we are going in. I'm really looking forward to playing with him."

Where will Tonali fit in at Newcastle?

AC Milan's Sandro Tonali controls the ball during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Sampdoria at the San Siro stadium, in Milan, Italy, Saturday, May 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Sky Sports' Ben Grounds:

Newcastle hope Tonali's passion can now be replicated in black and white stripes. The fee agreed between the two clubs has been labelled a "shock figure" by Gazzetta dello Sport, and one Milan simply could not refuse.

Newcastle sent representatives to firm up their interest in the player who captained Italy's U21s side at the European Championships in Georgia and Romania.

Eddie Howe is open to moving Bruno Guimaraes further up the pitch now Tonali, who has 14 senior caps for Italy, has arrived at St James' Park. But he is not your conventional defensive midfielder. Do not expect to see him just sitting in front of the defence.

When Sean Longstaff was out injured, Newcastle suffered. Guimaraes was forced to play in a deeper role for large periods between January and May, when Howe only had four recognised midfielders to call upon.

It threatened to derail the side, with home defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal contributing to a record of one win in eight games against top-five rivals.

Napoli's Giovanni Di Lorenzo, centre, is challenged by AC Milan's Sandro Tonali during the Champions League quarterfinal, first leg, soccer match between AC Milan and Napoli, at the San Siro stadium in Milan , Italy, Wednesday, April 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Image: Tonali was instrumental in Milan's run to the Champions League semi-finals last season

Tonali was used predominantly as a No 6 by Pioli last season in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which would give Guimaraes more licence to play higher up the pitch. Adept with both feet and tidy in possession, Tonali will improve Newcastle's ball retention having been the 12th most-accurate passing team in the Premier League last term.

Tonali will sign contract until 2028 and the deal represents a record sale ever for an Italian player.

It is a statement signing, but still part of Howe's meticulous plan to go through the phases as Newcastle look to establish themselves among European football's elite.

Last summer, they were prising Sven Botman - wanted by Milan - to the north east. Now, they are attracting the man who was expected to become Milan's club captain.

Tonali himself has admitted his childhood idol was in fact Gennaro Gattuso, who always liked to play on the edge.

With Pirlo's grace and Gattuso's granite, Newcastle can ensure their return to the Champions League after a 20-year hiatus is not a brief one.

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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