CHEIK Tiote has reaffirmed his commitment to Newcastle United – and dismissed talk of a transfer window move, writes Miles Starforth.
The midfielder is expected to be the subject of bids next month, with Chelsea and Manchester United among the interested clubs.
And Tottenham – who have an interest in goalkeeper Tim Krul – were represented at Newcastle’s Boxing Day win over Bolton, with Tiote also a potential target for Harry Redknapp.
However, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is not under any pressure to sell his players and he is determined to keep Tiote at the Sports Direct Arena beyond next month’s window.
And for his part, Tiote insists he has no intention of quitting the club he joined last year from Dutch club Twente.
“People can say whatever they want to say about me, but I’m a professional footballer and I play for Newcastle,” Tiote, right, said.
“I’m not thinking of leaving in January – I’m very happy playing for this club.
“That’s my job and I need to work hard for the team and the club.
“I have to focus on my job for Newcastle – that’s what I have to do. Whatever’s been said about me isn’t a distraction.”
Tiote returned from the injury which had kept him out for almost two months against West Brom last week and helped Newcastle end a six-game run without a win at the Reebok Stadium.
And the Ivory Coast international – who could have to leave for the African Cup of Nations after the Manchester United game on January 4 – is just relieved to be back on the field and playing his part after a frustrating spell on the sidelines.
“I wasn’t playing for a long time and I’m happy to be back to help the team move forward,” added Tiote.
“It was very difficult for me because I like to play and do my job. In football, when you get injured, you need to be strong mentally and work hard to come back. That’s what I did.”
Goals from Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba gave Newcastle a deserved win over struggling Bolton.
And the result sets up United for Friday night’s televised game at Liverpool.
Reflecting on the result, Tiote said: “We played as a team and that’s why we got this result.
“It was a hard game. Bolton don’t have a good position in the league and they were doing everything to win the game.
“We stayed strong together and compact as a team. When Ben Arfa came on he did a good job for the team and scored the first goal. It was a good moment for us.
“Demba’s job’s a striker – he has to score every game! I’m happy for him and the team also, because everyone did a good job.”