We were not too happy last month when it looked like Cheick Tiote would be leaving the club and since we are in deep relegation trouble we were shocked that Newcastle would be allowing one of their most experienced players leave the club for China.
It’s also true that Cheick has not played well for us for a year or two, but this year he has put in great performances at Arsenal and at home to West Brom, when he’s looked like the player he was when he first joined us from FC Twente in 2010 for around £3.5M.
Cheick Tiote – in action against West Brom tracking Saido Berahino
The midfielder’s £4M (some reports had that figure at £8M) proposed move to Shanghai Shenhua broke down last month and the reports are that he couldn’t agree personal terms with the club.
The Chinese transfer window closes tomorrow, so we will have both Cheick and Papiss Cisse for the run-in to the season and the two experienced players can certainly help us avoid relegation.
Cheick is a good example and he’s exactly what Steve McClaren wants to see from other players in the side, so he can be a great ally of Steve’s through the remaining 12 games.
The likelihood is that Cheick will partner Jonjo Shelvey in central midfield and they were our best two players against West Brom when we looked so much better than the Baggies that day – we looked a (very) good side!
And then we played at Chelsea.
This is what Steve McClaren has said about Cheick in the past:
“We didn’t want him to leave for Shanghai.” “He fights on the field – he genuinely wants the ball. “He never gives up, and he epitomizes what we want from this team.”
Unless Cheick is in world-class form for us in the remaining 12 games (that would be good) he will be leaving Newcastle in the summer and will probably join a Chinese Super League club.
But before that happens he can help save Newcastle this season.
If we can survive relegation the good news is that we are pretty sure that owner Mike Ashley will make more big money available in this summer’s transfer window.
But he may also want to look at who is running the club, because we have performed very poorly all season long with what is a decent squad with some good players.