NEWCASTLE United manager Alan Pardew will fight to keep hold of midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote.
It emerged yesterday that the Magpies had knocked back a bid for the Ivory Coast international from Lokomotiv Moscow several weeks ago, dismissing the offer as “derisory”. The Russians have not returned since.
However, rumours of Tiote’s impending departure have been rife in recent weeks and he has been unsettled by speculation linking him with, at different times, cash-rich Russian clubs and, at home, Arsenal.
Newcastle value Tiote at about £8million, having bought him for around £3.5m from Dutch side Twente in 2010.
The 28-year-old vice-captain still has three years left on his contract, and Pardew sees him as a key player as he looks to remodel his side.
As with all Newcastle players, owner Mike Ashley will consider any bid for Tiote, though it is understood Lokomotiv’s offer was less than half the value the Tynesiders have of the player.
Tiote is likely to miss Saturday’s Premier League game at Aston Villa with a hamstring injury, having sat out the opener against Manchester City, and is also set to miss the Gillingham Capital One Cup clash.
However, Pardew hopes he will be fit for next Saturday’s home date with Crystal Palace.