Chelsea tracking Newcastle enforcer.
CHELSEA are eyeing up a move for Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote in January.
Chelsea, who are currently competing in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, were dealt an untimely blow with the news that Oriol Romeu will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.
If Chelsea need a new defensive midfielder while Jon Obi Mikel is away at the African Cup of Nations, they’d be foolish to target Ivorian Tiote, who will also be representing his country at the ill-timed tournament.
Nonetheless, Tiote may be considering his future at Toon, with the club failing to live up to the lofty expectations set by last season’s fifth-placed finish. The Magpies are currently languishing just above the relegation zone, while Chelsea sit third, still in with a slim chance of the title.
Tiote, 26, has been a consistent performer since his move from FC Twente to the Premier League and if Chelsea made an offer significantly higher than the £3.5m paid by Magpies owner Mike Ashley, then there is a chance that the Cockney businessman would consider cashing in on the tough-tackler.
Indeed, boss Alan Pardew faces a fight to keep a number of his top talents at St James’ Park.
Prolific striker Demba Ba has a release clause of just £7.5m and the likes of Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye could also be tempted away from the North East if a big club comes calling.
And if Hatem Ben Arfa keeps scoring wonder-goals, there’s every chance that some of Europe’s top clubs will begin to take a serious interest in the French winger.
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