When Cheick Tiote joined Newcastle United from Eredivisie side FC Twente in 2010, he arrived at St James’ Park with a reputation as a resilient defensive midfielder with a keen eye for a pass. He put in solid performances over 58 games for the Dutch side as he helped them to the Dutch title in the 2009/10 season under former England manager Steve McClaren, and featured in the Europa League and Champions League, which helped put him in the shop window for a move to the Premier League.
Upon making his debut for the Magpies at the beginning of the 2010/11 season, it was easy to see why new manager Alan Pardew paid the reported £3.5 million for the Ivorian. He lived up to his reputation as a masterful passer of the ball, completing all 64 of his passes to help his side to a 1-0 away win to Everton.
He started all of his sides games that season, but his form would eventually dip. His disciplinary record has been particularly problematic – having now spent two full seasons at Newcastle, the combative defensive midfielder has picked up 25 yellow cards in 50 league games, equating to one booking for every two games. He has been booked 30 times in 60 games at the club and has now become something of a liability.
So much so, he has only started eleven out of Newcastle’s 21 league games this season, with Vurnon Anita and Yohan Cabaye being given the nod these days instead.
If Newcastle are to arrest their slump toward the relegation zone, they are going to need to start bringing in some quality players, and that might mean the departure of Tiote.
Here are 5 possible replacements.
5. Rio Mavuba
The 28 year old French midfielder started his professional career with Bordeaux and has also had a stint in La Liga playing for Villarreal. He eventually joined Lille on loan from the Spanish side but after some impressive performances in midfield, the French side opted to make his move permanent in 2008.
He has been a regular in the Lille side, making 109 appearances since 2008. He has made senior appearances in the French side as well as at under-21 level – so impressive were his midfield performances there that he was named in the Under-21 UEFA Championship’s Team of the Tournament.
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