By Danny Wright
Midfield enforcer Cheik Tiote is set to quit Newcastle to join Chinese second-tier side Beijing Enterprises, according to a picture released on Tuesday.
The transfer moved a step closer when an image was tweeted on the reliable TransferMarkt China Twitter page on Tuesday morning.
OFFICIAL: CL1 club Beijing Enterprises have signed Ivorian midfielder Cheik Tiote (30) from Newcastle United. pic.twitter.com/Q3J0tQ5xgl
— TransferMarkt China (@asaikana) February 7, 2017
The deal has yet to be confirmed by Newcastle but it now appears inevitable that Tiote will sign for the Chinese club to end his seven-year spell at St James’ Park.
Beijing Enteprises finished 8th in China League One last season and have secured one of the biggest names in the second-tier division, with many players moving from England to play in the Chinese Super League.
Former Everton and Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic is also playing in China League One for Beijing Renhe.
Tiote has found first team opportunities few and far between at St. James’ Park this season and has only made one appearance off the bench in the Championship.
The Ivorian, who won the Africa Cup of Nations with his national team in 2015, has made 156 appearances for Newcastle since joining in 2010 from FC Twente.
He scored one league goal in his entire time with the Magpies which will be largely remember by the Toon Army for rescuing a 4-4 draw against Arsenal after being 4-0 down.
Football Insider Verdict
Tiote has been a loyal servant for Newcastle over the past few seasons and at one stage looked to be a very good player for them. However at his age it’s going to be difficult for him to keep playing at the same level and winning prestigious honours. With just 15 minutes of league action all season under Rafa Benitez it’s easy to see that this will be just as much a move for footballing reasons as financial ones.
Newcastle fans will wish him luck but might be surprised that he’s ended up in the second tier of the Chinese league instead of the Super League, which is where everyone expected him to end up.
In other Newcastle news, this Sky Sports pundit has identified Newcastle’s strength.