Should Newcastle cash in on Cheik Tiote this summer?
Cheik Tiote played the full 90 minutes for Newcastle United against Arsenal on Sunday, the second time he has done so this month.
Yet a closer look at the Toon star's presence this campaign, shows he has done so just 11 times in the Premier League this season.
Out of a possible 38 for the Ivorian, it's a low total which illustrates the club are not getting the maximum return out of one of their key midfielders.
Tiote has made 24 appearances in total in the Premier League, but his physical style has so often led to him receiving injuries, or having to be brought off early.
Given the fact he is so highly rated, both Manchester United and Arsenal were linked with him last summer, it does open up the question as to whether Newcastle should consider cashing in on him.
If a high bid was received around the £25 million mark, Mike Ashley may be wise to take the money and run and re-invest it in a player who is able to contribute more regularly.
It is not just this season, but last. In 2011/12, Tiote played 90 minutes in less than half of the Premier League fixtures, 17 times.
What both seasons have included is the African Nations Cup, which will not take place next year, but this has only affected a handful of the potential games Tiote could have played in.
The midfielder is an excellent tackler and clever passer of the ball, good at keeping possession and gives Newcastle a solid base to build from.
When he is on form it allows their more creative players greater freedom, like Cabaye, Ben Arfa, and Gutierrez.
Newcastle are trying to plan for the long-term, and selling off one of their key men may seem like a backwards step and send the wrong message out to his teammates, but if the club are able to replace him with another impressive defensive midfielder then the damage will have been limited.
French based Etienne Capoue and Maxime Gonalons are two such options, the former being an ex-teammate of Moussa Sissoko at Toulouse, with both linked with Arsenal over the past few months.
What Tiote's season does indicate, on the other side of the coin, is that there simply may not be the suitors knocking down Newcastle's door trying to buy him, as has been rumoured in previous summers.
Whether any offers come in for him is an intriguing story to follow, and Newcastle's decision may not be a straightforward no.
Do you think Tiote will be in-demand this summer? Should Newcastle cash in?
image: © mickyb59