Newcastle United fear Cheick Tiote’s injured knee could rule the midfielder out for the rest of the season, according to the Chronicle.
Tiote, 28, has been at the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast for the past month but made just two appearances during the group stages, as the Elephants won their first championship since 1992 following a shoot-out triumph over Avram Grant’s Ghana.
The 48-times capped international is believed to have suffered damage to his knee during his time in Equatorial Guinea and, while Newcastle are still awaiting the final outcome of the assessment, it’s thought he could be sidelined for up to 10 weeks.
Tiote, who joined Newcastle from FC Twente in August 2010 for a reported £3.5 million fee, has made just 12 total appearances for the club this season, having been forced to wait until September for his campaign debut due to a hamstring problem.
A reoccurrence of the issue saw him miss five further games between October and November, while he also threw his future in the North East into doubt after he was quoted as signalling his intent to leave St James’ Park this winter amid claimed interest from Arsenal.
“I’ve spent four years with Newcastle and I think I’ve reached the stage where it’s maybe time to look elsewhere for a new challenge,” the Guardian reported him to have said.
“I will focus on the upcoming games and see what happens between now and December but it is true there was contact for me in the summer from Arsenal and also from a club in Russia. I would prefer to stay in England, though.”
He was forced to distance himself from those comments in a statement on the club’s official website soon after but, given the season he’s endured since, perhaps it wouldn’t have been such a bad move if the club had cashed in on his signature during the recent transfer window.