Tonali to Newcastle: Midfielder reduced to tears before talks with Magpies, wanted AC Milan stay

Sandro Tonali is set to leave AC Milan for Saudi Arabia-backed Newcastle, even despite not having planned to ever leave the Rossoneri. He was reduced to tears when the club informed him of their desire to sell him to the Premier League side.


Sandro Tonali is on the verge of leaving AC Milan, the club he supported as a boy and fulfilled a dream by joining from Brescia in 2020, to join newly rich and Saudi-funded Premier League side Newcastle United. The transfer has not only come as a shock to Rossoneri fans, but also to the midfielder himself.

With Newcastle having been bought out by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the Magpies have newfound wealth and are looking to strengthen the squad that impressively managed to secure a top-four finish in 2022/23 and, as a result, booked a place in the 2023/24 Champions League. They were also interested in Inter’s Nicolo Barella.

Tonali in tears before Newcastle talks

AC Milan’s Sandro Tonali delivers a corner against Napoli. [@acmilan]

According to a report on June 23 from La Repubblica, Tonali had no intention to leave AC Milan this summer, or at any point in the forseeable future. A boyhood Milan fan, Tonali had hoped to spend the rest of his career with the Rossoneri and become a bandiera – a flag-bearer, a term usually assigned to one-club men – of the club.

Having worked under Paolo Maldini during the ex-defender’s time as sporting director, Tonali wanted to replicate what he had done in his illustrious career at the Stadio San Siro. Maldini had himself been dismissed by AC Milan earlier in June.

The same report says that Tonali was reduced to tears when AC Milan informed him that they intended to sell him in order to pocket the – approximate – €80 million that Newcastle were offering for his services.

AC Milan’s Theo Hernandez, Simon Kjaer and Sandro Tonali converse. (Photo: AC Milan)

Now, it appears that all is missing is the confirmation of the transfer and Tonali, currently on duty with the Azzurrini at the Under-21 European Championship in Romania and Georgia, will be moving to England’s northeast.

Sandro Tonali career

Sandro Tonali celebrates scoring AC Milan’s winner at Verona. (@acmilan)

At 23, Tonali has 130 Serie A appearances to his name with Brescia and AC Milan. Of those, 95 have come for the Rossoneri since making his move in 2020, prior to which he had spent one top-flight season with the Rondinelle after their promotion from Serie B. The midfielder was one of the side’s standout players as they won the Serie A title in 2021/22.

Tonali had been a key player for Brescia for a handful of seasons before finally getting his dream move. Despite his young age, he demanded attention for his performances in midfield for the Rondinelle and was regularly linked with a move to one of Italy’s bigger sides. In fact, Inter narrowly missed out on his signing before he joined Milan.

Tonali made 89 first-team appearances for Brescia after emerging from their Under-17 and Primavera sides. He then joined AC Milan and made 130 appearances for the Rossoneri across Serie A, the Champions League, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana.

He has also received 14 Italy caps, as well as several more in the age category squads.

Tonali wasn’t a member of the Azzurri’s 2020 European Championship winning squad in 2021, though he has won Serie B and Serie A.


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