Newcastle are fearful of Chelsea making a mammoth £10 million bid for Cheik Tiote, with Alan Pardew admitting he would be powerless to stop the 25-year-old from leaving St James’ Park.
"We're not a Liverpool or any of the clubs above them,” Pardew admitted.
"We're competing on a lower level."
Tiote has been on Chelsea’s radar for months now, and since Andre Villas-Boas took over the managerial post, pundits and fans have been waiting to see who the young manager’s first signing will be.
While Porto stars Radamel Falcao and Hulk, along with Brazilian starlet Neymar and Palermo playmaker Javier Pastore are all reportedly on Chelsea’s transfer radar, Cheik Tiote has emerged as an easy target for Villas-Boas, with Newcastle unable to compete with Chelsea’s budget.
Tiote has also been linked with a move to Arsenal and Real Madrid, but Newcastle will do everything they can to keep their star midfielder at the Toon.
Tiote penned a six and a half year deal with Newcastle last February, keeping him at the club until 2017, and Pardew is reportedly hoping that the Cote d’Ivoire international will honour the commitment he made to the club.