Serie A side, Napoli, are showing serious interest in Newcastle United midfielder, Cheick Tiote, and will make a January move for the Ivorian, reports The Mirror.
The 28-year-old, who joined The Magpies back in 2010 after leaving Dutch side FC Twente, has gone on to make over 100 appearances for the Premier League outfit, becoming one of their crucial figures in the heart of their midfield.
Premier League arrival
Newcastle spent just £3.5million on the midfielder four years ago, but are ready to slap a £16m price-tag on his head in order to try and fend off interest from the Italian side.
Rafael Benitez is keen on signing the Ivorian as he is interested in adding different options to his midfield, and he sees Tiotes as the missing-link in his current midfield department.
According to reports, Napoli are considering a £12m bid for Tiote in January, as soon as the transfer window opens, which is £4m shy of Newcastle's reported valuation of the 28-year-old.
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The midfield powerhouse has quickly become one of Newcastle's key-men, and Alan Pardew is reluctant to lose one of his star-men midway through the season, which is exactly what happened last year.
Last Season Disaster
After making an impressive start in the 2013/2014 season, The Toon then lost Yohan Cabaye in January to Paris Saint-Germain, and after seeing the Frenchman leave, their season collapsed and they ended up in a relegation scrap.
Pardew is desperate to avoid a similar situation this year and will tell Mike Ashley to reject all offers that are made.
However, Napoli have much more funds available and could offer Tiote a hefty weekly-contract, which could see him persuaded away from St James Park.
Tiote is reportedly on £45k-a-week at Newcastle, but Benitez is prepared to offer him a contract worth £80k-a-week.
The Ivorian's most famous moment in a Toon shirt came when he turned home a superb volley during the side's sensational 4-4 draw with Arsenal.