Newcastle’s £52m signing Sandro Tonali is ‘a gambling addict’, his agent confirms, as Italian star faces a betting investigation in his homeland… but he could still play this weekend despite being ‘shaken’
- Tonali has been caught up in a betting scandal that has rocked Italian football
- Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo is also being investigated by authorities
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
Sandro Tonali’s agent says the Newcastle midfielder is battling a gambling addiction as he faces a possible ban amid an investigation into illegal betting.
It has been reported that the 23-year-old has revealed his issues to those closest to him, and that he is ready to cooperate with authorities. He arrived at the Turin prosecutor’s office on Tuesday.
Sources in Italy say that a ban is likely, with Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli set to be suspended for seven months as part of the same probe into betting on illegal platforms.
It would be a huge blow for Newcastle and head coach Eddie Howe if they were to lose Tonali, their £52million summer signing from Milan. He revealed on his return to the San Siro in the Champions League last month that he had struggled to adapt to his new life on Tyneside, admitting he felt ‘lost’ in his early weeks.
Tonali’s performance have been mixed but there was an acceptance that he needed time to develop under Howe. This latest development has the potential to be a major setback for the player and his club.
Newcastle’s Sandro Tonali has a gambling addiction, his agent says, amid a betting probe
He was dropped from Italy squad after being caught up in a betting scandal that has rocked Italian football
Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zanioli is also under investigation by prosecutors in Italy
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Italian sources say that, if it is found Tonali has gambled on matches not involving his own team, then he could negotiate a reduced ban. If bets relate to any team he represented at the time – Milan, Newcastle or Italy – then the punishment will be more severe. The exact nature of the allegations against him are not yet known.
Tonali and Aston Villa winger Nicolo Zaniolo were released from the Italy squad last Thursday after they were questioned by authorities who seized their phones and devices.
Tonali trained with his Newcastle team-mates on Monday and his agent, Giuseppe Riso, says he could play against Crystal Palace on Saturday, although that would appear unlikely if he remains in Italy over the coming days. Howe also has a decision to make on his mental state.
Riso has also revealed that his client is fighting a gambling problem.
‘Sandro is playing an important game against gambling addiction – he will win this one too,’ he said.
‘I’d like to thank Newcastle who have always stood by Sandro. He is in shock, shaken and sad. I hope that this experience saves his life and that of many others, that it helps those who fall into the same habit as him.
Riso added: ‘Sandro is training, and on Saturday he could also play. He understood that he has to face this problem in a strong, determined way. The club is absolutely at this moment by his side.’
Meanwhile, Newcastle are set to confirm an official airline partnership with Saudia Airlines, adding to the main shirt-sponsorship deal with Sela and sleeve agreement with Noon, both Saudi-based companies.
The value of the Saudi partnership is yet to be confirmed, although sources suggest a deal in the region of £3m per year would represent fair market value.
Juventus star Nicolo Fagioli is reportedly willing to meet with the prosecutors to secure a more lenient punishment
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