When Newcastle United signed Bruno Guimaraes, it was immediately clear that he was a class above.
But now there is another midfield superstar in town, with the Magpies splashing out on Sandro Tonali this summer. He arrived for £55million from AC Milan, becoming the club’s second most expensive signing ever.
Many expected him to be eased into the team, but Eddie Howe went all out on Saturday. He started Tonali against Aston Villa, and it was an inspired decision.
The 23-year-old was Newcastle’s man of the match, taking to Premier League football with ease. He even got a goal on his debut, opening the scoring in the sixth minute.
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It was a special performance from Tonali, and one that delighted Howe.
Eddie Howe thinks Sandro Tonali and Bruno Guimaraes are ‘very similar’
Following the 5-1 win over Aston Villa, Howe spoke to the Telegraph. He heaped praise on Tonali for his efforts, and explained how he is actually similar to Bruno.
“He is one of those players who always seems like he has time on the pitch even when it is a really tight area,” he said.
“Bruno is very similar in that respect. You need players who can control the the game with the ball and we’ve not had that ability as much as we would have liked at times in previous season and in games we are hopefully going to have more of the ball. That is our idea at this moment in time.”
Two elite Newcastle midfielders
While you don’t want to have too many players who are alike, it is definitely a good thing when Howe says Tonali and Bruno are ‘very similar’.
They both play with such control and spacial awareness, giving themselves all the time they need when in possession. Bruno has showcased that brilliantly over the past 18 months, and now we have Tonali too. It means we can play with more control, and it eases the pressure off of Bruno’s shoulders.
We saw them dovetail brilliantly at times on Saturday. Bruno played in the ‘six’, but had the freedom to roam forward, safe in the knowledge that Tonali was covering him.
They already look to have a strong understanding, and it is only going to blossom as the season continues.