By Will Butcher
Rafa Benitez has confirmed that Newcastle will look to sell Cheick Tiote in January.
The 30-year-old has plummeted down the midfield pecking order following the Toon’s relegation from the Premier League, and almost joined Turkish giants Galatasaray in the summer.
Speaking to the Shields Gazette, manager Benitez revealed that he is not looking to sell any of his St. James’ Park squad in January except from the Ivory Coast international.
“We don’t want to sell anyone if it’s not necessary,” Benitez said.
“If someone comes from China and says ‘I will offer you millions’, obviously, you have to think about it. The only one we are open (to selling) is Cheick.”
Tiote is behind the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Colback and Isaac Hayden in the midfield rankings, and is expected to jump ship in January with just six months remaining on his Tyneside contract.
The combative midfielder has made just one appearance all season for the Toon, as he came off the bench for 15 minutes during the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.
Signed from Dutch outfit FC Twente in the summer of 2010, Tiote has gone on to make 154 league and cup appearances for the Magpies.
He will be remembered for scoring his solitary Newcastle goal in the enthralling 4-4 draw against Arsenal, as he stroked home a left-footed volley to secure a memorable comeback.
But Tiote is now set to end his stay in the north East, as Benitez looks to sell the out-of-favour ace.
In other Newcastle transfer news, this is Benitez’s stance on striker Aleksander Mitrovic.