Manchester United and Chelsea are rumoured to be interested Newcastle’s Cheik Tiote currently rated at a cool £5 million.
The price may have risen however, given his spectacular volley last Saturday against Arsenal. It has put the player under spotlight and Newcastle fans maybe wondering whether he will be the latest player to walk out the door.
Newcastle will certainly want to make more than the £5 million reported interest and Mike Ashley will be under pressure following the exit of local boy Andy Carroll. But what to make of this interest? Are Chelsea and United set to enter a bidding war in the summer for his services? The interest maybe from one club more than the other.
If you take Chelsea for example, how many central midfielders do they currently have? Lampard, Essien, Ramires, Mikel can all be considered first choice. Then in the back up department they have upcoming youngsters such as Gael Kakuta, and Josh McEachran.
Is there any room for another central midfielder here? Sure Lampard is reaching the latter stages of his career at 32, but Chelsea have still missed his services this season. Tiote can not be considered a replacement for Lampard either giving that they are two very different players. Mikel and Ramires are only 24, and Essien is 28 now into his peak.
These players have plenty of time in their Chelsea careers and are already of good quality above Tiote. Furthermore would it be wise for Chelsea to sign another African player? Especially as it would be a central midfielder. Imagine come January, a busy premier league fixture list, and you lose 3 players of the same position for at least a month? For me it would not make sense for Chelsea to purchase another central midfielder at this point, and especially one of African origin. A transfer to United however, may seem more likely.
United for me, haven’t really ever replaced Roy Keane with a player similar to his style. Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Liam Miller, Eric Djemba Djemba (so good they named him twice) have been tried and tested in the role but don’t really have the attributes in which to do so. Owen Hargreaves would have been the man to take this role and given his performances in Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 would still be the first choice had he not suffered from injuries. I could see United stepping up their interest in Tiote.
Sir Alex hasn’t really been able to splash the cash in the last couple of seasons as he would have liked and Tiote could be another one of those players he sees as a bargain for £7 million perhaps. The player will have had a season of Premiership experience under his belt come the summer and already adapted to the English way of life. United need a player who can be described as the engine room, running things at the back while others push forward.
It may be too soon for serious transfer speculation but given his performances so far Tiote may not be far from Sir Alex Ferguson’s radar.