By Matt Farr
Sporting Gijon are interested in Newcastle’s senior midfielder Cheick Tiote, according to a report.
Spanish news outlet La Nueva Espana claim that Sporting’s director of football Nico Rodriguez has travelled to England to try and clinch a deal for Tiote.
The Ivory Coast international has fallen down the pecking order at St. James’ Park, and has made just two appearances in all competitions this term.
The Daily Mail reported in December that Sporting Gijon were interested in signing Tiote, and now it appears that the Spanish club are making significant progress towards a potential deal.
Tiote’s lack of action this season saw him omitted from the Ivory Coast setup ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, and with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, is not expected to remain at the club for much longer.
Restored to the starting line-up to face Birmingham in the FA Cup on Saturday, Tiote did little to suggest to Rafa Benitez that he deserved a run in the team.
Arriving at Newcastle in 2010, the 30-year-old is currently the club’s longest-serving player, making 154 appearances.
He looked certain to leave the club in the summer, according to the Mail, who claimed that Tiote was in talks with teams in Turkey and China.
Tiote reportedly flew to Istanbul to sign for Galatasaray, only for the deal to stall and eventually collapse. The Turkish later claimed that the midfielder had failed a medical.
Football Insider verdict
If Sporting Gijon director of football Nico Rodriguez can convince Tiote that a move to the club is the correct option, then it would be a fantastic addition to their ranks. The club are currently 18th in La Liga, and find themselves in a battle to avoid the drop at the end of the season. They could do with a little more steel in the midfield, and while he is no longer in his prime, he still has plenty to offer. He is finished at St. James’ Park, and it would be wise for him to seriously consider what Sporting have to offer, whether it means taking a pay cut or something similar.
In other Newcastle news, the Magpies must unleash this player against Birmingham and beyond.