Former Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill believes Newcastle United have pulled off a masterstroke in the transfer market.

There have been some truly outrageous fees paid for footballers this summer. Harry Kane just moved to Bayern Munich for a deal that could reach £100million despite the fact he had just one year remaining on his Tottenham contract.

Moises Caicedo has just moved to Chelsea from Brighton for £115million, a British transfer record for a player who has had just one season in the Premier League. It’s absolutely madness.

Newcastle got world-class Tonali for less than half the going rate

It looks even more ridiculous when you consider what Newcastle paid AC Milan for Sandro Tonali who has played Champions League, Serie A and international football for several years. Newcastle paid less than half of what Chelsea spent on Caiceido and got a player with loads more experience and, dare I say, even better talent.

Martin O’Neill, speaking on talkSPORT today (h/t The Chronicle) has also suggested that Newcastle have grabbed a bargain, saying: “Sandro Tonali – you mentioned before in terms of the amount that he’s cost them £55million, only half the fee that’s been paid for a number of central midfielders or defensive midfield player. Sometimes Tonali calls himself a defensive midfield player even though he scored a goal.

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“He actually likens himself to the old warrior Gattuso from some years ago.”

I had originally thought Eddie Howe brought in Tonali to play as a defensive midfielder based on the Gattuso comparisons, but seeing him in action for Newcastle it doesn’t seem that playing that holding role is his priority, especially after seeing him steaming into the box for Newcastle’s opening goal on Saturday.

Newcastle may well have the best midfield trio in the Premier League

It looks now like Newcastle have a trio of box-to-box midfielders in the middle of the park with Tonali, Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton with each one capable of covering the other if they want to go forward.

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This may be hyperbole from a place of sheer bias, but I believe Newcastle have the strongest midfield trio in the Premier League now.

Tonali is going to show the Premier League that you can find a world-class player for well under £100million.

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