Sandro Tonali

Sandro Tonali

Sandro Tonali

Current Club: Newcastle United.

Previous Clubs: AC Milan, Brescia, Piacenza.

Loan Clubs: AC Milan.

International: Italy 15 caps.

Trophies Won: Serie B 2018/19, Serie A 2021/22.

Usually Tonali is a defensive midfielder who sits deep and protects the defence, and he was excellent in that role in Serie A. However since joining Newcastle he has been playing a bit further forward, ahead of Bruno Guimaraes, who has played the deep-lying role instead. I am still surprised that is the way they have chosen to employ him, but also pleasantly surprised at how well he adapted to the new role, at least up until he got a 10-month ban for gambling on football.

That ban does leave a few questions, mainly did AC Milan know about his gambling and is that why they sold him so quickly? Only Tonali is still young and improving, he was the lynchpin of their team and there is every possibility that they could have got a much bigger fee for him by opening the sale up to an auction of sorts. But if they did know about the gambling coming to light, then a quick sale was better for them as holding out risked his problems being revealed and him being impossible to sell, in the same way Ivan Toney was.

It also raises the question of whether the punishment was the right thing to do if Tonali is genuinely addicted. Is it helpful to have an addict stuck with nothing to do all day every day. Is that not just going to push him more towards addiction? Surely the best way to help them is to keep them as busy as possible, preferably in situations where they are exposed to the dangers of addiction and how it can destroy lives.

I understand that they need to be punished for breaking the rules, but banning them from all football-related activity is surely not the answer to this issue. Unless there is evidence that they have gone down the route of potentially spot-fixing (or further) to win their bets or to pay off debts, this seems like a crime that would be better punished by community service. Taking their spare time away from them and making them help others who need their help seems a far more useful way to deal with this than simply banning them.

There is also the question of how badly Tonali will be affected by the suspension of his career. He has lost the time in training to keep himself up to speed and could also lose their drive and desire. It could also have the opposite effect and give him something to drive him on, to make him put in that extra little bit of work to recover his career. Tonali enters the ban as a tenacious, hard-working, driven midfielder with good mobility and technique, but what kind of player will he be when he returns?

Will he work hard on his fitness and keep himself ready to return, like Mo Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo do during the end of season breaks, or will he get lazy due to ennui? Has this been the catalyst to take him to greater heights or the destruction of an extremely promising career? Only time will give us the answers to those questions.

Requested by - Deependra