Newcastle’s ability to spend in January hangs on Sandro Tonali wage cut

Sandro Tonali - Newcastle's ability to spend in January hangs on Sandro Tonali wage cut
Sandro Tonali has been banned for 10 months over gambling breaches - AFP/Oli Scarff

Newcastle’s spending power in the January transfer window will be impacted by whether Sandro Tonali’s wages can be reduced during his 10-month ban for gambling breaches.

Eddie Howe is likely to be active when the market opens in five weeks, with a centre-back among the positions he wants to strengthen if Sven Botman is injured for a long period, but the Saudi Arabia-owned club have also been mindful of Premier League profit-and-sustainability rules.

Telegraph Sport revealed in October that Newcastle were exploring the possibility of a wage reduction for Tonali after the Italy midfielder was banned until August for betting on illegal platforms.

Tonali is one of Newcastle’s top earners and his salary off the balance sheet would free up more to be spent on new signings. If Tonali has image-rights payments built into his contract then reducing this element on his salary, during a worldwide suspension, could be a possible way to lower the wage bill.

Everton were punished with a 10-point deduction for breaking profit-and-sustainability rules, with clubs taking the regulations seriously when they plan their transfer window budgets.

While Newcastle’s Saudi owners, the Public Investment Fund, are among the wealthiest in football, they are also bound by Premier League financial rules that limit losses to £105 million over a three-year period, with the spending at St James’ Park respecting those rules during four transfer windows since they were taken over.

They bought Tonali from AC Milan in a deal worth £55 million but the betting investigation from his time in Serie A has left Howe without his marquee summer signing for the rest of season, leaving a hole in his midfield after he started eight of the first 11 matches of the campaign.

Tonali was banned by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) for breaching betting rules but the suspension applies to all football, which came as a bombshell scandal to hit football last month, with Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli also banned.

Newcastle have looked at midfielders for the January transfer window but it is understood that centre-back is also a concern for Howe, with fears Botman may require knee surgery.