CHEIK Tiote has reaffirmed his commitment to Newcastle United in the wake of speculation linking Chelsea with a bid for the midfielder, writes MILES STARFORTH.
Tiote was a revelation in his first season at St James’s Park, and the 25-year-old was handed a new six-and-a-half year contract midway through the campaign.
However, that hasn’t stopped Tiote being linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, where midfielder Michael Essien is facing up to a long spell on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery.
For his part, the Ivory Coast international – who will not be involved in tonight’s pre-season game at Darlington, with manager Alan Pardew rotating his squad through the club’s friendly programme – insists he is fully committed to Newcastle.
“It is only the journalists who have talked about Chelsea – I haven’t said anything,” Tiote said.
“I am a Newcastle player, and I will do my job in Newcastle. I have a contract, and that’s the most important thing for me.
“I’m happy – if I wasn’t happy I wouldn’t have signed for six years.”
Tiote is hoping to make his seasonal debut in the club’s pre-season tour to the United States, where Alan Pardew’s side will play three friendlies.
“We’re starting the new season, and we have to work hard to be fit for the first game,” said Tiote.
“It’s good to be back after six weeks, and now it’s time to work. That’s what the team are doing. This season we need to be better than last season, and also we need to train well.
“We’re going to America to work hard and be ready for this season.
“I need to play get my condition back, and this is the most important thing. If you don’t play, you can’t get in good condition, so I’m looking forward to playing in America.”
The tour will also be a chance for United’s three new signings – Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Sylvain Marveax – to integrate themselves into the dressing room.
Like Tiote, they are French-speakers, and the trio have already impressed their team-mates on the training field.
However, Tiote will resist the temptation to speak to them in his native language.
Tiote added: “It’s not so good for me because I need to speak English!
“We’re an English club, and everyone needs to speak the language. It will be better for the manager and the other players.
“The players were happy to sign here, and I think they will do well this season for the club.”