The Mail is reporting that Marseille are willing to pay £2.5M for Newcastle central midfielder Cheick Tiote.
They are reporting that Cheick is keen to leave Newcastle now that we are in the second division, but the 53 times capped Ivory Coast midfielder had a mini-revival in form under Rafa Benitez last season and Rafa started him in the games once he was fit; Cheick played well.
We were wondering if Rafa would want to keep him at the club for next season, because he does provide ample experience and carried out what Benitez wanted him to do in that central defensive position – and he was a first team choice under Rafa.
Rafa Benitez and Cheick Tiote last season
Rafa also praised the Ivorian for his 100% work-rate during training, which seemed to impress the manager.
Tiote is now still only 29 and in January there were reported bids from both Shanghai Shenhua and Beijing Guoan, with Newcastle wanting around £6M for him.
He almost joined the Shanghai club in January, but the news was that they couldn’t agree personal terms with Cheick.
At the time, Beijing Guoan were expected to renew their interest in Tiote in the summer, so we think Newcastle can do a lot better than £2.5M for him.
The cash-strapped Marseille club’s offer is not a particularly good deal for Newcastle.
Cheick joined us from FC Twente back in 2010 and had been scouted for a few years by Graham Carr; we paid a low £3.5M for him.
He was good at the beginning of his career on Tyneside, but has slackened off over the last two years or so and had a number of injuries over that period too.
If Newcastle do sell Tiote in the summer, it could be to get his high wages off the wage bill, and he has only one year left on his current contract.
We’re not sure how much Rafa rates Tiote, but he did play well for him in those final games of the season when Newcastle started to play really well and Cheick even seemed upbeat about things.
If this report is true we’d be surprised if Rafa Benitez would accept only £2.5M for this very experienced central midfielder.
What do you think?