By Matt Farr
Newcastle midfield outcast Cheick Tiote is now in talks with Chinese League One outfit Beijing Enterprises Group FC, according to a reliable journalist.
Lee Ryder, who reports for the Newcastle Chronicle, revealed on his personal Twitter account on Tuesday morning that Tiote had begun talks over a move to the second-tier side.
He did, however, add that no deal had yet been agreed between the two clubs.
Told that Cheick Tiote is now talking to Beijing Enterprises Group FC of Chinese League One. No deal has gone through yet. #nufc
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) February 7, 2017
The latest twist in the protracted transfer saga comes as a shock, as Tiote had appeared set to complete a move to Super League outfit Shandong Luneng.
However, the reported interest from Beijing seems to indicate that things are not as straightforward as they seemed.
Ryder had later revealed on Twitter that a second-flight team in China were prepared to hijack their move, and his latest tweet has revealed the identity of the interested side as Beijing Enterprises Group FC.
Understand that it's not just Shandong Luneng who are trying to sign Cheick Tiote. Second flight team in China also interested. #nufc
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) February 6, 2017
No official confirmation has yet been made by either side, but the departure of Newcastle’s current longest-serving first-player seems inevitable.
Football Insider verdict
It’s a bit of an odd development. Tiote looked all set to complete his move to Shandong Luneng. He had reportedly flown out to China to undergo a medical and come to an agreement on personal terms, and it didn’t look like there was much that could stop the deal going ahead. However, with Beijing now in the race to sign him, it does suggest that there could have been some kind of issue along the way with Shandong. A move to China seemed inevitable, but no matter how lucrative the lower leagues may be, the Super League was surely the most likely option. Nevertheless, Tiote will get the first-team football he hasn’t got at Newcastle this season.
In other Newcastle transfer news, this Magpies star should leave the club in the summer for the good of his career.