Newcastle United have completed their signing of AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali as they prepare to return to the Champions League.

The 23-year-old Italy midfielder has agreed to terms on an initial deal that will keep him at St James’ Park until 2028 for an undisclosed fee – thought to be in excess of £50 million.

Tonali, who has 14 senior caps, captained his country in recent weeks at the European Under-21s Championships in Georgia and Romania, and his signing came a day after Italy exited the competition.

“First and foremost, I want to thank Newcastle United for providing me with a fantastic opportunity for my career,” the former Brescia player said.

“I want to repay the trust by giving it my all on the pitch, as I always have.” I’m really looking forward to playing at St James Park and feeling the warmth of the fans.”

Tonali is the type of high-profile signing that Magpies head coach Eddie Howe has been looking for since guiding the club to a top-four Premier League finish last season, ending a two-decade exile from Europe’s most prestigious club competition.

Howe has indicated his intention to recruit quality rather than quantity this summer, while remaining within the spending constraints imposed on a club that has spent more than £250 million in the first three transfer windows under its new Saudi-backed owners.

He has acknowledged the difficulty of competing on both the domestic and European fronts next season, and he understands that repeating a remarkable league campaign will be made all the more difficult by the demands of once again rubbing shoulders with the continent’s big boys.

However, bringing in a player of Tonali’s caliber reflects Newcastle’s intentions, and the 45-year-old was overjoyed to have landed his man.

“I’m delighted to welcome Sandro to Newcastle United,” Howe said. He is an exceptional talent with the mental, physical, and technical qualities to be an excellent fit for us.

“At the age of 23, Sandro has already gained valuable experience as a key player in one of Europe’s top leagues and the Champions League, as well as for his country.”

“But he also has the opportunity and potential to grow and evolve with us, and I’m excited to add him to our squad as we approach the exciting season ahead.”

Tonali began his career at Brescia, where he helped the club win promotion to Serie A, before joining Milan on a season-long loan in the summer of 2020.

He leaves with 130 appearances in the Italian top flight and having played in all 12 of the Rossoneri’s Champions League games last season as they reached the semi-finals before losing to arch-rivals Inter.