Is Cheick Tiote leaving Newcastle really a story?
Surely it would be more of a story if on any particular day you saw a headline saying that the Ivory Coast midfielder was still going to be here tomorrow.
Turning 30 yesterday, the morning after has seen the local north east media all suggesting that Cheick Tiote is leaving…again.
You can guess the basics of the story: new challenge, Chinese club(s) keen, one year left on contract, get big earner off the wage bill and so on.
Like any number of players at St James Park (Papiss Cisse, Fabricio Coloccini etc), Cheick Tiote has overstayed his welcome.
Bottom line if that the likes of Tiote have had it far too easy, massive wages in return for simply trying to keep Newcastle in the Premier League.
No pressure on achieving, which has led to the stagnation of so many players from the heights of that isolated 2011/12 season – Mike Ashley refusing to allow that team to be built on in summer 2012, ensuring that any enthusiasm/ambition that was in that team ended up being quickly deflated.
Krul, Cisse, Tiote, Coloccini, Taylor all getting progressively worse with each passing season.
Cheick Tiote did ok late on last season but he wasn’t great, he tried – which was enough for most people after much of what we’d watched under Steve McClaren.
I think the likes of Cisse and Tiote would only go if they received a ‘loyalty’ bonus and they will subsequently stick around for another 12 months before becoming free agents and able to negotiate higher wages at a new club with no transfer fee to pay.
Same as Coloccini, surely the club would now let him leave without any expectation of a transfer fee. He has said enough times he wants to go back to Argentina, including earlier this month.
The only thing keeping our Captain here is cash, unable to give up the £4m or so he will receive for spending another year on Tyneside.
Back to Cheick Tiote, in six years he has only once started more than 26 league games in a season (26 in total over the course of the last 24 months), with injuries, suspensions and variable form keeping him out of the team.
The 46 Championship matches to be faced this time, need fitness, energy, enthusiasm and commitment, something which I don’t think Cheick Tiote is up to and if still here, is unlikely to be available for much more than half the fixtures judged on past experience.
I would love to be proved wrong and see Cisse, Tiote and Coloccini move on – and who knows, they may even rediscover a little bit of that form, enthusiasm and commitment we saw five seasons ago.