There will be a decision made on Cheick Tiote’s future by the 20th September when the transfer window closes in the Emirates.
If Cheick is not sold by then Rafa Benitez will quickly integrate him into the Newcastle squad and he will be available for the team to play in the Championship.
Benitez likes Cheick as a person and a player and he has said today the 30 year-old has been training very well.
Rafa Benitez and Cheick Tiote last season
Chieck is fully fit but he lacks match practice and that would take a few games to correct for a player who is massively experienced, but has been trying to leave Newcastle for two years now.
This is what Rafa has said today about the 52 times capped Ivory Coast defensive midfielder:
“I was talking with Tiote on Tuesday because obviously we are still waiting,” “The 20th is the date the transfer window closes in the Emirates.”
“He is training really well, so I just told him, ‘Look, just wait a little bit, keep training hard and then we can decide’. He is a player who still has something to offer.”
“I think the rest of the players appreciate that he’s a good professional and it’s a normal situation for them.”
“They know that the market is still open, they know that it’s not easy for a player to keep training but not necessarily be involved.”
“But, because they can see him training, maybe they will say, ‘Hmm, he could start’. He’s not a player who is not physically at the right level.”
“It is one thing to be physically fit – and he is fine – but the other thing is the match fitness, and you have to play games to get match fitness.”
“So maybe he’s a little bit short of match fitness, but in every training session, he is fine physically.”
“It’s one more player in the squad, and everybody is just waiting to see what happens.”
Cheick may have some difficulty making the first team with players like Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Colback and even Vurnon Anita fighting it out for the two central midfield positions.
But there’s no doubt we can use Cheick this season – he would add experience and bite to Newcastle’s central midfield and Rafa had him playing very well last season.
One more experienced player in the squad cannot be bad to help see us through what is a tough season.
But in January we’ll probably see Cheick linked with a potential move away from Newcastle, as he was last January.
His contract runs out next June.
What do you think?