You know I really used to look forward to transfer windows. I could go for hours looking at potential targets and in truth I still do that.
However my enjoyment of the whole transfer window malarkey has been tempered in recent years and I always have half an eye, if not more, on outgoing players aswell as incoming ones.
Call me a suspicious old Hector if you like, but the facts are that every player has a price under this regime, including our important players like Cheik Tiote who has been linked with a move away from the club since the summer.
The fact is that a big money bid could see Tiote leave. I wouldn’t be happy about it but in a way it’s the nature of the beast. Fans would be kidding themselves if they thought the lure of Newcastle United is greater than a payrise and a shot at Champions League football.
Anyway, hopefully it won’t come to that and those clubs who will splash the cash will be deterred by Alan Pardew’s words today as he claimed it would be “very, very difficult” to get him, and other important players, out of Newcastle thanks to the great start on the pitch and the apparently good position we are in financially.
“He’s a big target because he’s a great player, and great players are going to be targets,” said Pardew when quizzed about the recent transfer speculation regarding Tiote.
He added: “We are always on our guard with Cheick because we realise that to us, he is very, very important and it would be very, very difficult to get him out of here.”
Pardew was then asked whether he could guarantee Tiote staying at Newcastle. He answered: “You never know with the window. It’s such a minefield of possibilities.”
“We have one or two players here that top clubs, I’m sure, will be interested in, but the one thing I would say on that is that they are going to have to pay a lot of money to take anybody out of here because we are obviously in a good position, not just on the playing side, but financially as well.”
Whilst not naming names, Pardew dropped a serious hint about a player coming, that player being Modibo Maiga. I don’t quite understand the secrecy to be honest as every man and his dog knows it’s him. He added that there may be more than just one player moving to St James’ Park in the January window..
“In terms of players coming in, there is certainly one player who will come in and we are hoping maybe two – if we don’t lose anybody,” Pardew concluded.
I’ve been thinking the whole Tiote situation for a while now. Obviously he is impressing people but let’s take a look at the facts on this one. If he does go, it will be for big money. As I said earlier, far from ideal. However with that admission we can effectively rule out most of the clubs in the Premier League. What about the ones who could afford him though? Do they really need to splash out on Cheik Tiote?
I guess the first place to look is Chelsea as they are the ones who have been linked with the midfield enforcer the most. Currently they have Raul Meireles, Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel, Ramires and Oriol Romou fit and available to play in the middle of the park. Let’s not forget the currently injured Michael Essien who is now back in training and edging closer to a return and they also have young Josh McEachran who is starting to get the odd chance in the first team. That’s seven central midfielders…
How about Manchester United? How are they stocked in midfield? Currently they have Park Ji-Sung, Michael Carrick, Anderson, Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher, albeit the latter is on a break from the game at the moment. They also have Phil Jones who can play in the middle of the park in the more defensive role – a role he has played in over the last few weeks. Tiote would be a plus for them, but they have other priorities to address.
Manchester City is also a no-go I feel. They have Gareth Barry (tee hee hee), David Silva, Nigel de Jong, Yaya Toure and James Milner who can all operate in the middle of the park. They seem to be doing fine as things stand and need to strengthen their defence before anything else. There is also the fact that Tiote wouldn’t be guaranteed a start at the Etihad, plus the fact that City have enough money to look at any player they want, not just Tiote.
Moving on to Arsenal and I think the fact that it will take “big money” will rule them out in the first instance. They have a record of nurturing their own which has served them well for over a decade now. Anyway, I’ll take at look at their central midfield options regardless.
They have Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Song aswell as the young and highly-rated Emmanuel Frimpong coming through the ranks along with probably a couple of others. they seem to have their midfield covered but, like I mentioned above, they’d be an outsider anyway.
Liverpool are another club who seem to have their midfield sorted. Obviously there is Steven Gerrard to consider, but beyond him they have Charlie Adam, Lucas, Jordan Henderson and young Jay Spearing to take into account. They could probably do with another midfielder in truth but when you consider that Gerrard is a starter along with the good form of Adam and Lucas I just wonder if they’ll splash so much cash to bolster a position that is pretty much sewn up?
Finally, Tottenham. they have a cracking midfield in truth. Scott Parker, Luka Modric, Sandro and Rafael van der Vaart are supplemented by Tom Huddlestone, Danny Rose and Jake Livermore. They have strength in depth in their midfield and have all roles covered – offensively and defensively – with more than one player.
Those, to me anyway, are the clubs that have the cash to spend on a player like Tiote. They all have an income that us greater than ours which is why I’ve drawn the line there. If we can’t resist bids from clubs who actually earn less than us then there is something wrong!
I honestly can’t see where Tiote will fit into any of them to be honest. Yes you could argue that they could buy him regardless, but would he be guaranteed first team football each week? I’m not so sure on that.
Of course there is the potential of a move abroad, but again the same scenario crops up. There aren’t that many clubs who could pay the money we want AND offer him a place in the team. Remember, he hardly played at FC Twente because he didn’t suit the style of play over in Holland so the same could be said about other countries also.
Anyway I’m hopeful that I’ve just spent an hour compiling this article for no reason and that Pardew’s apparent determination to keep the Ivory Coast international at the club pays off in January and beyond but, as we’ve witnessed at first hand, transfer windows have an element of dread about them these days.
A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.