There are some mitigating factors in Cheick Tiote’s drop in form over the last 12 months, with injuries and international duty disrupting his season at Newcastle United.
However there have also been problems that the midfielder has created for himself, with his continuing lack of discipline on the pitch seeing him miss four games through suspension before the end of December last season. Although he reduced his yellow card count to around one in every three games - compared to a ridiculous 25 in 50 Premier League games in his first two seasons – he is still someone who seems unable to rein himself in.
This was justified given his powerhouse performances in his first two years at Newcastle, but last year Tiote was nowhere near that level, and plenty of fans might now wonder if they should cash in on the Ivorian if a reasonable bid comes in.
This would be particularly justified if Newcastle were able to replace Tiote with Celtic’s Victor Wanyama, who is being linked with several Premier League clubs after a superb season.
While Wanyama is no shrinking violet – he picked up 14 yellow cards and one red last season – he has been able to justify his poor disciplinary record with a string of excellent performances in the Scottish Premier League and the Champions League. At 21, Wanyama might also be able to justify his card record a little more than Tiote, and hope that he can restrain himself more as he gains more experience.
The Celtic player is apparently rated at around £10million, an amount that Newcastle could expect to fund most of through selling Tiote, and Wanyama has the potential to be a better player than the Ivorian. Along with his defensive work, Wanyama is composed in possession, and comfortable carrying the ball forward from his own half.
It might be harsh to move Tiote on after one poor season, but if Newcastle have a chance to replace him with Wanyama at almost the same price, it would be an fine piece of business as they attempt to reshape the squad after a disappointing season.
image: © mikebrown59