Newcastle United do not know if AC Milan were aware of the betting charges facing Sandro Tonali when they sold him to the Magpies this summer, according to sporting director Dan Ashworth.
The 23-year-old midfielder joined for £55m in July, but less than four months later was given a 10-month ban by the Italian Football Federation for betting on matches involving his two previous clubs, Milan and Brescia.
“It’s really difficult for me to get into what other clubs do or don’t know,” Ashworth said.
“All we can do is look at our own internal investigation and internal process. It’s a really difficult question for me to answer – I just don’t know.
“It was a massive shock, a massive surprise. Dealing with it was new to all of us. It came from nowhere.”
Tonali only made 12 appearances for Eddie Howe’s side before the implementation of the ban, which will keep the Italy international out until the start of next season.
The federal prosecutor and Tonali agreed a plea bargain, meaning eight months of his ban will be commuted to “a therapeutic plan” to help “recovery from gambling addiction”.
That will include Tonali making at least 16 public appearances in Italy, where he will be expected to speak to young players about the dangers of gambling.
Though unable to play in any matches, Tonali can train alongside his Newcastle team-mates during his ban.