Manchester United have identified Cheick Tiote as the man to beef up their midfield.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s team may have won the Premier League without too many alarms last season but there is till concern at Old Trafford that the centre of midfield is a bit lightweight. Michael Carrick is more of a passer than a destroyer with Anderson seemingly a jack of all trades but master of none. Darren Fletcher remains the one real dynamic performer but with the Scotland international still recovering from a debilitating virus, there is a definite lack of bite and industry in the heart of the United team.
Tiote would certainly add both those attributes after an excellent debut season in England since arriving from FC Twente last summer for £3.5m. His muscular displays saw him win many favourable comparisons with Chelsea enforcer Michael Essien and he was indeed the subject of interest from the Londoners in January prompting Newcastle to give their man a new contract after just six months at the club.
The Blues were expected to renew their interest in the Ivory Coast international following the injury to Essien in pre-season training that has sidelined him for six months but instead it is United that are showing the strongest interest. With money not an issue on Tyneside due to the £35m windfall that the Magpies received from the sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool, The Red Devils will need to offer in excess of £14m to get their man.