Ashworth confirms Tonali investigation

Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth has spoken of his "massive shock" at the Sandro Tonali betting breaches saga and confirmed the club are internally investigating the transfer.

Tonali, a £55m signing from AC Milan, has been banned from playing for 10 months after agreeing a plea bargain as part of an Italian Football Federation investigation into illegal betting.

Ashworth has admitted the news came as a complete surprise to Newcastle, prompting them to internally review the processes involved in the deal to bring him to St James' Park.

As part of an in-depth Q&A, Ashworth admitted Tonali can be seen to have breached his contract and refused to rule out the possibility of reducing his wages during his absence, albeit while seeking to protect the player and his mental health as a priority.

Ashworth also said Newcastle will be active in the January transfer window if they are able to identify a possible replacement.

He confirmed there are no regulations currently in place to prevent them loaning players from other Saudi-owned clubs amid speculation linking them with Ruben Neves, who plays for Al Hilal.

Read on for the Q&A below as Ashworth opens up on the saga.