By Matt Farr
Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote is expected to sign for Shandong Luneng within the next 48 hours, according to a report.
The Newcastle Chronicle claim in their live blog on Monday (3.13pm) that the deal for the Magpies outcast is expected to be confirmed by Wednesday.
Tiote had flown to China over the weekend to undergo a medical with Super League outfit Shandong Luneng, and iron out the final details of the transfer.
The 30-year-old is currently Newcastle’s longest-serving first-team player, but he has fallen out-of-favour with the club under the leadership of Rafa Benitez.
The Ivorian international has been limited to just 15 minutes of Championship football this season, making a total of three appearances in all competitions.
Tiote looked set to quit the club last month, but the midfielder had not settled on a preferred destination before the English transfer window slammed shut a week ago.
Spanish outfit Sporting Gijon were one of a host of sides from Spain, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates that saw moves for the Newcastle outcast fall through.
Shandong Luneng, meanwhile, are set to finally confirm the transfer, with the Chinese Super League window open until the end of February.
Tiote has made 156 appearances for the club, since his arrival from FC Twente in 2010.
Football Insider verdict
Tiote has been a very loyal servant at St. James’ Park, but it has been evident for quite some time that his time at the club is at an end. Benitez has long been prepared to let him leave, but it has been about finding the right destination for the player, and so far, none of them have been right. Tiote appears to have finally made a breakthrough, and provided he can agree personal terms and pass his medical, his long-awaited Newcastle exit will finally come true. Despite his advancing years, there is still plenty left in the tank for Tiote, but not necessarily at the top-level, which is perhaps why he hasn’t featured quite so much for Newcastle this season. Nevertheless, aside from the notable financial benefits, a move to the Chinese Super League will give Tiote the opportunity to play regular first-team football once again.
In other Newcastle news, it has become a make or break time for this Newcastle first-teamer.