Bleak times ahead for Magpie Tiote '“ as Benitez relishes new strength in depth for Championship push

Cheick Tiote faces four months in limbo at Newcastle United after failing to secure a move.

Friday, 2nd September 2016, 8:00 am
Cheick Tiote
Cheick Tiote

Proposed transfer-window moves to Galatasaray and Olympiacos broke down.

And an 11th-hour attempt to secure the midfielder a loan switch to Spain also came to nothing.

The 30-year-old, in the final year of his contract at St James’s Park, does not figure in Rafa Benitez’s plans at Newcastle.

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Tiote, now in his seventh season on Tyneside, became unsettled two years ago amid interest from an unnamed club. A proposed move to Shanghai Shenhua also broke down in January.

Tiote will now have to convince Benitez of his commitment if he is to play any part in Newcastle’s Championship campaign between now and the New Year, when the transfer window reopens.

However, the Ivory Coast international could yet move to a country which has an open transfer window.

Meanwhile, Benitez feels he has the strength in depth he needs to challenge for promotion.

The club signed 12 players in the summer transfer window, which closed on Wednesday night with the £30million sale of Moussa Sissoko to Tottenham.

Benitez – whose side sit fourth in the Championship – was keen to have two players covering every position.

Asked about the club’s transfer business, he said: “I am happy.

“Everyone could see we needed more offensive players, more creativity in the team.

“So we have Matt Ritchie, Mohamed Diame and Dwight Gayle to create chances and score goals, and, of course, we added Daryl Murphy, which gives us another option up front.

“Now we have Christian Atsu, who is an attacking winger, as well as Achraf Lazaar and DeAndre Yedlin, who are attack-minded defenders.

“We have also strengthened in other areas.

“Jesus Gamez, Ciaran Clark, Grant Hanley and Matz Sels will increase the competition at the back, and Isaac Hayden will do the same in the middle, so the competition in each position only can be good for the team.”

Newcastle – not in action until next Saturday teatime’s Championship trip to Derby – ended the summer with a £30million-plus profit following Sissoko’s move, and Benitez hasn’t ruled out more investment in January, when the transfer window reopens.

“We will continue to assess the squad over the next few months and see how we are doing before the end of the year,” said Benitez.