Sandro Tonali: Newcastle boss Eddie Howe confirms midfielder is available to face Crystal Palace

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Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali has endured a “difficult couple of weeks” but could play against Crystal Palace on Saturday, says manager Eddie Howe. Tonali is being investigated by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and the Italian football federation in relation to alleged illegal betting activity.

The Italy international, 23, joined Newcastle from AC Milan in July for £55m. “He’s very much available for selection,” Howe said. “He’s had a very, very difficult couple of weeks, he’s been dealing with a lot and, from what I can see, from a few hours a day, he’s handling himself really well and is dealing with emotions incredibly strongly.”

Tonali and Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo left Italy’s training camp for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and England after being told they were under investigation. Capped 15 times by Italy, Tonali has scored one goal in seven appearances in the Premier League. “I got a phone call from Dan Ashworth [Newcastle’s sporting director] during the international break,” added Howe, on first hearing the news Tonali was being investigated.

“It was a total surprise to me, to him, to everybody. These are things when you’re in this job that can happen. My immediate thought process was to make sure Sandro was OK.” On Tuesday, Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli was given a seven-month suspension by the Italian football federation (FIGC) for breaching betting rules.

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