MANCHESTER United have run the rule over Cheik Tiote on the eve of the transfer window.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is desperate to keep the midfielder at the Sports Direct Arena.
But Pardew – who was understood to be watching a game in Europe yesterday – knows every player has his price at the club, and he’s braced for one or more bids for Tiote next month.
Chelsea’s interest in the 25-year-old is already well known, and Man United could be ready to rival them for Tiote
Sir Alex Ferguson – who is looking to strengthen his midfield options – sent his brother Martin, the club’s chief scout, to watch Tiote make his comeback from a knee injury in Saturday’s draw.
Pardew insisted last week there was no need for the club to sell Tiote, though Andy Carroll’s £35m sale to Liverpool in January underlined the fact that every player has his price at United.
Ferguson – who failed to sign Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder in the summer – needs to add to his midfield options in the transfer window, having lost Darren Fletcher for the time being to a medical problem.
Meanwhile, Pardew is looking to sign a defender in the transfer window with Steven Taylor almost certainly out for the season with an Achilles injury.
One name that has been brought to the club’s attention is FC Twente’s Douglas Franco Teixeira.
Known simply as Douglas, the imposing centre-half is a former team-mate of Tiote’s during his time at the Dutch club.
The 23-year-old was born in Brazil, but has Dutch citizenship, and his contract runs out next summer.
Newcastle’s season is stalling slightly after their winless run stretched to five games on Saturday, despite dominating for long periods.
Demba Ba was denied a 12th goal of the season by both the woodwork and Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm as Newcastle’s hopes of a first win in five Barclays Premier League games were dashed.
The Senegal international fired against an upright after skipper Fabricio Coloccini had earlier hit the other post and then saw Vorm react brilliantly to turn away his 42nd-minute volley as the Magpies threatened to run riot before the break.
Winger Jonas Gutierrez also came within inches of a superb opener with the visitors desperately trying to repel tide after tide of attacks.
But on an afternoon when the Magpies paid tribute to former midfielder Gary Speed, they could not mark the occasion with a victory in front of a crowd of 51,767.
The afternoon had begun with a rousing tribute to former Wales boss Gary Speed with his family and close friends Alan Shearer, Steve Harper and John Carver there to witness it, and it was Newcastle who harnessed the emotion to rip into the visitors.
They dominated throughout and had they left the pitch at half-time four goals to the good, Swans manager Brendan Rodgers, who worked under opposite number Alan Pardew at Reading, could not have had too many complaints.
In-form striker Ba was denied by the other post four minutes later after acrobatically volleying towards goal from a Leon Best knock-down.
Ba was looking the man most likely to break the deadlock, and he saw another effort blocked by Swansea captain Ashley Williams after turning smartly with 26 minutes gone.
Ba must have thought he had given them a 42nd-minute lead when he connected sweetly with a 42nd-minute volley from Gutierrez’s header back across goal, only to see Vorm pull off a fine reaction save.
They almost took the lead within two minutes of the restart when full-back Danny Simpson floated a cross to the far post, where Ba volleyed over under pressure from defender Ashley Richards.
But with the opening goal remaining elusive, the visitors sensed an opportunity and went close 16 minutes from time when Scott Sinclair fired just wide of the far post after managing to get himself one-on-one with Simpson.
Having earlier introduced striker Shola Ameobi, Pardew threw on younger brother Sammy and fellow midfielder Haris Vuckic in a last-ditch attempt to snatch the points, but although the home side battered away at their opponents as time ran down, they could not find the necessary quality to claim the win.
Newcastle: Krul,Simpson,Perch,Coloccini,Santon, Obertan (Sammy Ameobi 82),Cabaye,Tiote (Vuckic 82),Gutierrez, Best (Shola Ameobi 71),Ba. Subs Not Used: Harper,Williamson,Ben Arfa,Abeid. Booked: Cabaye.
Swansea: Vorm,Richards,Williams,Caulker,Taylor,Routledge, Gower (Agustien 45),Britton,Sinclair (Dyer 77),Allen,Graham. Subs Not Used: Tremmel,Dobbie,Monk,Lita,Moore. Booked: Richards.
Att: 51,767 Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).