Jim Ratcliffe's potential Man Utd investment assessed | Football Digest
Manchester United can help Newcastle United solve their Sandro Tonali dilemma in the January transfer window by leaving Scott McTominay in the shop window. Sir Jim Ratcliffe could hand Erik ten Hag some funds if INEOS complete their £1.4billion deal for 25 per cent of the club before the new year, and McTominay may boost his budget further.
Tonali looks set to become the next footballer to receive a long-term ban for betting breaches in a significant blow to Newcastle’s season.
The Magpies splashed £55m to lure Tonali to St James’ Park at the start of July, opting for the AC Milan ace over McTominay, but face losing him for at least the remainder of the campaign.
On Wednesday, a club statement read: “Newcastle United can confirm that Sandro Tonali is subject to investigation by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in relation to illegal betting activity.
“Sandro is fully engaging with the investigation and will continue to cooperate with all relevant authorities. He and his family will continue to receive the club’s full support.
“Due to this ongoing process, Sandro and Newcastle United are unable to offer further comment at this time.”
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Tonali’s impending absence could prompt Eddie Howe to enter the market for a new midfielder this winter to prevent the risk of falling short in his engine room.
Newcastle are aiming for back-to-back top-four finishes and a strong Champions League campaign, having drawn at AC Milan and beaten Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 in their opening Group F games.
And Howe’s potential desire for a Tonali replacement could see him revert his focus back to Old Trafford, where McTominay is bound to remain available for the right price.
United were open to selling the 26-year-old in the summer but rejected a £30m bid from West Ham United as it fell short of their asking price.
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The Red Devils reportedly valued McTominay at least £40m, though it remains to be seen whether that price will be inflated midway through the season.
And more opportunities could arrive in the coming weeks after he bailed Ten Hag out with a stoppage-time brace off the bench last time out, sealing a 2-1 comeback win against Brentford.
However, his heroics at Old Trafford won’t mask the fact that he is a fringe player in Ten Hag’s squad, and there is undoubtedly a deal to be made if Tonali is hit with a long-term suspension.
Whether a move to Tyneside materialises will depend on the extent to which Newcastle’s ownership would be willing to support Howe after the unexpected blow.
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