Tonali ban may be bad news for Arsenal as Newcastle prepare to flex muscles

Arsenal will be Man City’s main title challengers this season | Football Digest

Arsenal could be negatively affected by Sandro Tonali’s 10-month football ban as Newcastle United prepare to wade into the January transfer market. Everton star Amadou Onana is rumoured to be a player of interest for both the Magpies and the Gunners, with Mikel Arteta at risk of being beaten to the punch.

Tonali will miss the rest of the season after being served with a 10-month ban by the Italian FA (FIGC). The 23-year-old, signed for £55million from AC Milan during the summer, admitted to secretly betting on his own team while playing in Italy.

Newcastle are expected to hit the ground running once the transfer window reopens in January. And Onana is believed to be on Eddie Howe’s shortlist as he chases down a physical presence with Premier League experience.

The Belgian reportedly has admirers at the Emirates Stadium, too, and his agents were thought to be in regular contact with Arsenal’s transfer team earlier this year.

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A big-money move didn’t materialise as the Gunners shelled out a whopping £105million on Declan Rice instead. But a January swoop can’t be ruled out, particularly with rumours suggesting that fellow midfielder Thomas Partey is growing tired of sitting on the bench in north London.

Onana may need no second invitation to jump ship at Everton, with the threat of a 12-point deduction looming large at Goodison Park. The Premier League have recommended a ‘severe’ punishment for breaching profit and sustainability rules, with the Toffees due to discover their fate later this year.

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Having risen through the ranks at Hoffenheim’s academy, Onana made his senior breakthrough at Hamburg before a brief stint with Ligue 1 side Lille. Everton splurged £33.5m to sign him last summer, and although he is not quite the finished article, the Belgium international’s stature and unpredictability in the middle of the park make him a handful for opponents.

A move to St James’ Park could be appealing for the youngster, with Howe and co in contention to make the Champions League knockout stages and fighting for a second consecutive top-four finish.

The Magpies were back in European action on Wednesday night, although Borussia Dortmund upset the script by scraping a narrow 1-0 win on Tyneside.

Tonali made his final appearance of the campaign, coming off the bench to a warm reception from supporters. Scott McTominay, Kalvin Phillips and Joao Palhinha are believed to sit alongside Onana on Newcastle’s replacement shortlist.

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