Cheik Tiote has added to the chaos surrounding Newcastle United by suggesting he is ready to quit the club in the near future and that Arsenal are interested.
St James's Park is a turbulent place to be at the moment with questions hanging over Alan Pardew's reign as manager. Fans are fed up with both Pardew and chairman Mike Ashley and performances on the pitch have suffered as a result.
Tiote, who is contracted to the Magpies until 2017 has had enough of the bad vibes around Tyneside and is ready to move on. And the Ivory Coast international, 28, confirmed he has offers from Premier League club Arsenal.
In an interview with an Ivorian magazine, he added: “I want to leave. I’ve spent four years with Newcastle. I think I have reached a stage where it’s maybe time for me to look elsewhere for a new challenge.
“I will focus on upcoming games and let’s see what happens between now and December.
“It is true there were contacts for me from Arsenal and a club in Russia. I’d prefer to stay in England.”
Premier League interest
Tiote has attracted interest from both Chelsea and Manchester United during his time at Newcastle United but has always insisted he was happy to stay. However, it appears the time is nigh for a new challenge and his timing could not be better for Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners are looking worryingly thin in midfield after failing to reinforce the position in the summer transfer window. Injuries to Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta have left them extremely exposed.
It is expected that Wenger will dip into his transfer fund again in the January transfer window to rectify the problem, but it is not known who he will try to sign. The likes of Sami Khedira and William Carvalho have been linked with a move to the Emirates but Tiote, 28, would be a cheaper alternative.
However, Wenger should be aware that the spending power of Manchester United could blow any offer they have for Tiote out of the water. Like Arsenal, Manchester United are looking weak in midfield and new signing Daley Blind has so far failed to impress.
Louis van Gaal has the funds to attract a player like Tiote to Old Trafford, but whether he deems the purchase necessary or not is another thing entirely.