BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Cheick Tiote of Newcastle United is tackled by Fabian Delph of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on September 17, 2011 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Chelsea have been mentioned in connection with Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote basically ever since the Ivorian arrived in England at the beginning of last season. The former FC Twente man quickly established himself as a fearsome force in the Premier League and has powered the Magpies to some surprising results. Chelsea are just one of the many teams who'd get involved should his club be willing to sell.
There didn't seem to be much incentive for Newcastle to do any such thing, however. Much like summer target Luka Modric with Tottenham Hotspur, Tiote has recently signed a long-term contract extension with Newcastle and there was no reason to think he'd be available. That didn't stop the rumours dying down, of course, but now we've got some indication that he might be on the table after all.
You never know with the window — it’s such a minefield of possibilities. I think I’ve learned from the Andy Carroll situation and outside of Manchester City, every club has a player that is vulnerable. We have one or two players here that top clubs, I’m sure, would be interested in. The one thing I would say is that they will have to pay a lot of money to take anyone out of here because we’re in a good position — not just on the playing side but financially.
Cheik is a big target because he’s a great player and great players will be targeted. We value him very highly here and I think, on my part, I expect him to stay. But that does not mean to say something might not come out of the fire. If he did go, it would have to be for a silly price.
I don't think it'd be out of the question for Chelsea to pony up big money for a very good young player. Tiote, at this point, is basically a 25-year-old Michael Essien with working (ish) knees. Whether the Blues should be going for him is another question entirely, however. Do we really need to reinforce the midfield with Essien expected to make a return in January? Shouldn't we be prioritising filling holes elsewhere? Just how much is Pardew talking about, anyway?
I could be sold on a Tiote transfer, assuming the overall cost wasn't too high and it came as one of a number of moves to overhaul the squad rather than the centrepiece of our window. How about the rest of you?