Manchester United are ‘stepping up the chase’ for Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote, according to People, with the star high on Sir Alex Ferguson’s priorities for January.

Tiote has been a star for Newcastle, particularly over the last two seasons, and the 25-year-old is said to be hot property for numerous English clubs.

United are on the lookout for defensive support, and Ferguson reportedly sees Tiote as the perfect addition to the squad as he moves to challenge table leaders City for the title.

But with Tiote signing a six year deal with Newcastle in February, United will have to make a big-money offer to get their hands on the former FC Twente man.

Tiote received a record-equaling 14 yellow cards last season, but this hasn’t perturbed United in their pursuit of the Ivory Coast international, with Ferguson reportedly liking Tiote’s fiery side.

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