Despite Chelsea still reeling from the loss of midfielder Michael Essien for at least six months with a knee injury, Andre Villas-Boas is apparently already stepping up his interest in Cheick Tiote as a replacement.
The Newcastle midfielder was linked with a move to Stamford Bridge back in the January transfer window, but it never materialised and Tiote soon found himself with a new contract, securing the players services till 2017.
Relatively unknown in this country when Tiote moved to Newcastle, the Ivory Coast international has had an excellent first season with the Magpies, embodied by the stunning goal he scored in the 4-4 draw with Arsenal earlier this year. Apart from individual feats such as this, Tiote has also performed to a consistently high standard all season long, an acclaim which originally sparked Carlo Ancelotti’s interest in him.
With Essien’s Chelsea career still plagued by injuries, it seems as if Roman Abramovich is willing to spring for a replacement without the need for selling Essien himself, who, when fit, is undoubtedly one of Chelsea’s best players. Although Newcastle confirmed recently that Chelsea had made no such bid for the player, recent reports in the Daily Mirror suggest otherwise, and could see Tiote moving to London for as much as £15M.