Report: Cheick Tiote suffers blow in attempt to engineer Newcastle United exit

Newcastle's Cheick Tiote is substituted as manager Rafael Benitez looks on

Rafa Benitez has barely used Cheick Tiote this season but an injury crisis means he may be forced to stay at Newcastle United.

A year after his lucrative move to China fell through at the last minute, Cheick Tiote’s hopes of escaping his Newcastle United nightmare could once again be dashed, The Chronicle reports.

The Ivory Coast midfielder has barely featured in The Magpies first-team since Rafa Benitez took charge in March, taking part in only 16 minutes of action in the Championship this season.

Cheick Tiote celebrates his last-minute equaliser against Arsenal

His current position at the bottom of the pecking order is a far cry from his 2011 vintage when he and Yohan Cabaye spearheaded Newcastle’s run to a fifth place finish in the Premier League with one of the most dynamic midfield partnerships in the division.

Consequently, The Chronicle reports that La Liga strugglers Sporting Gijon were interested in thrashing out a bid for Tiote, whose Newcastle contract expires at the end of the season, but an ill-timed injury crisis means he may be forced to remain on Tyneside for another few months.

Newcastle's Cheick Tiote is substituted as manager Rafael Benitez looks on

Vurnon Anita has been ruled out of more than two months after suffering ligament damage against Brentford while fellow midfielder Isaac Hayden is also currently unavailable.

This, coupled with Jonjo Shelvey’s ongoing suspension, means Tiote could suddenly find himself thrust into the starting XI in the FA Cup replay against Birmingham City tomorrow.

However, his rusty display in the 1-1 draw at St Andrews earlier this month means few fans will be toasting his return.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch