Ivory Coast progressed to the semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations but they had to do it without Cheick Tiote.

Goals from Bony (2) and Gervinho defeated Algeria 3-1 on Sunday and set up a semi-final appearance on Wednesday against DR Congo.

After playing in Ivory Coast’s first two group matches, Tiote had missed the final group match after picking up two bookings.

However, yesterday the Newcastle midfielder didn’t play and wasn’t one of the named substitutes.

The absence was said to be due to an unspecified injury but this didn’t stop further speculation back in his home country that Cheick Tiote’s absence was due to a potential move away from Newcastle on deadline day.

Arsenal have been repeatedly linked with the midfielder and while his recent form would make you wonder why Arsene Wenger would take a chance on him.

However, if Mike Ashley is desperate to get him off the wage bill and grab whatever he can for a player who will be 29 in June, then a gamble on Cheick Tiote returning to his best form in a relatively ‘budget’ move could be possible.

Other transfer news saw reports from Italy last night that Davide Santon is due to have a medical today and complete an initial loan move back to Inter Milan.