Arsenal are ready to meet Lokomotiv Moscow head on in a transfer battle which will determine the future of Newcastle star Cheick Tiote.
According to the Daily Express the Gunners remain resolute in their hunt for a defensive midfielder and, having been turned down by Sporting Lisbon after making a bid of £20 million for William Carvalho, have turned their attentions to Tiote. Arsene Wenger has long been an admirer of the player, and the impact he has had in the Premier League for Alan Pardew is sure to have convinced him to put financial backing behind his intentions.
It’s now claimed that Arsenal will fight with Lokomotiv in order to secure the services of the Ivory Coast midfielder, with Wenger having confirmed himself that the defensive side of his team could do with one or two additions.
The Gunners have a wealth of attacking assets on their books, and the addition of Alexis Sanchez has only served to make them even more potent moving forward. However, despite having acquired Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers the club lack experience at the back following the departures of Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna, and an enforcer in the midfield would allay fears over there being a weakness in the area directly in front of the back four.
With this mind it’s no wonder Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira, who finds his position under considerable duress thanks to the arrival of compatriot Toni Kroos, has been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium since the transfer window opened, but it doesn’t look as though a deal for the German international will be pushed through easily, particularly given his high wage demands.
Tiote, valued at a poultry £8 million, is a far more feasible option, and his experience in England’s top flight alleviates any concerns over a period needed for an incoming player to adjust to the Premier League’s rough and ready approach to play. What’s more, whilst Lokomotiv would have little trouble stumping up the required fee the fact that they’re based in Russia does pose a problem.
The issue, naturally, is convincing Pardew to part with his star performer. The Tyneside boss went to great lengths to play hardball over the sale of Yohan Cabaye last summer and it must be assumed that he would be every bit as dogged over Tiote.
With the Magpies tipped to struggle this campaign Pardew knows letting a top asset go is far from a wise move, though the player himself may look to force a move if his ambitions are to challenge for major honours in the forthcoming season.