When Cheick Tiote landed in Istanbul on Sunday, it looked like he was finally on his way.
With Krul, Coloccini, Taylor and Cisse already having found new homes this summer, Tiote’s departure would have seen the removal of the last key player from that 2011/12 season when Newcastle finished fifth.
Sadly, like the rest of those players, Cheick Tiote rarely hit the heights of that season in the past four years.
A deal for Cheick Tiote joining Galatasaray for somewhere between £1.2m and £1.5m (according to reports) was suddenly brought to a shuddering halt on Monday, with claims from Turkey that he had failed his medical. There was even later claims that a second medical was taken and that also wasn’t passed.
However, last night the Shields Gazette said that they had discovered that it wasn’t anything to do with a failed medical and was instead due to ‘contractual issues’.
The inference clearly being that the sticking point was the usual one, money.
A move to Shanghai Shenhua broke down in January when Cheick Tiote couldn’t agree terms with the Chinese club and it is looking very likely that we are seeing the same here. That move to China was reported to have stalled because Tiote wasn’t offered significantly more than his £60,000 a week wages at Newcastle.
To still not have moved on by this point in the transfer window, especially with Rafa Benitez making crystal clear the player doesn’t feature in his plans by leaving him out of all six matchday squads, definitely suggests to me that playing football isn’t the most important thing on Cheick Tiote’s agenda.
There is talk of Olympiakos now being interested but with no Champions League football for them this season, it would be a surprise if they wanted to match Tiote’s wage demands. The likelihood being that for any move to happen, Newcastle will have to seriously compromise on any money they were expecting from a transfer.