The clock is ticking as we wait to see if Cheick Tiote will finally move before the transfer window closes in China.
The window eventually closes on Friday 26 February and the Chinese Super League then kicks off again on 4 March.
Cheick Tiote was reportedly targeted by a number of Chinese clubs in recent weeks/months and he held talks with Shanghai Shenhua, only for a deal to fall through/be put on hold.
Former Newcastle striker, 31 year old (according to his passport) Obafemi Martins is one player who has moved, joining the same Shanghai Shenhua that Cheick Tiote was seemingly set to move to.
I’m sure that there are many attractions of the Chinese Super League but Martins is swapping a $3m a year deal at Seattle Sounders, where he pays 50% tax on his wages, for a reported $4m a year package at Shanghai which will be tax free for him.
Many of you will remember a court case involving Obafemi Martins and his former agent, which saw the revelation emerge that when playing at Newcastle, the striker would take his weekly wage of tens of thousands of pounds out of the bank in cash, every week. Not sure what he will be spending his cash on in China if he hasn’t changed the way he handles his finances…
The move of players to China has become more than a trickle with increasingly higher and higher profile stars making the move; Alex Teixeira moving for £38m, Jackson Martinez £32m, Ramires £21m, Gervinho £14m and PSG’s Lavezzi also heading off to China this week for a so far undisclosed fee.
Judging by the calibre of players that have already moved and the money that has shifted hands, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see a Chinese club still come in for Cheick Tiote and even the likes of Papiss Cisse now he is on his way back to fitness – with either player you would expect Mike Ashley to snap their hands off if any decent transfer fee is on offer.