Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal are in a keenly contested race for the signature of Cheick Tiote. Liverpool in particular are reportedly lining up a £15.5 million pound bid to test Newcastle’s resolve. After Newcastle’s shocking start to the season which has seen the club occupy the 18th position on the league table, reports have claimed that the Ivory Coast international is desperate to leave ST James’ Park. Although, Tiote had earlier reassured the Alan Pardew tutored side of his continued commitment, he is still seeking an exit and might likely push for a move next summer according to various reports.
The race had initially been between Manchester United and their North London rivals but it has now emerged that Brendan Rodgers is also interested in securing the signature of the midfield enforcer. Liverpool themselves haven’t had the best start to the season and are presently struggling in the early stages of this campaign to maintain the relevance that the combination of Luis Suarez and Danny Sturridge fostered last term. Rogers is in dire need of a midfield helmsman who has the quality to beef up his weak midfield. The Liverpool boss is reportedly prepared to hand team captain Steven Gerard a more attack minded position while giving Tiote the space to patrol just ahead of the 4 man defence.
However, with all the moves of the Merseyside club, the Gunners are still the ones leading the race to sign the Ivorian and the Arsenal boss will aim to outbid his rivals to the mid-fielder’s signature. For most part of this summer, Louis Van Gaal had channelled his concentration to several high flying mid-fielders with a view to strengthening the already depleted Manchester United midfield. Erstwhile manager, David Moyes had brought in Marounne Fellaini from Everton and before he was fired, sanctioned the purchase of Anders Herrera from Atletico Bilbao. Van Gaal probably figured that with the creative ability of Herrera, the club will still needed a defensive midfielder who could clean up after the more attack minded players. The United boss signed up his countryman Daley Blind to fit the role but with the recent injury worries coupled with the incessant dip in form, the former Dutch national team coach may be considering Tiote who is clearly a cheaper option when compared to the likes of Kevin Strootman, Arturo Vidal or Paul Pogba. With Brazilian flop Anderson reportedly heading outwards of the club, If Manchester United move on Tiote, Van Gaal will have more options to join Anders Herrera, Darren Fletcher, long serving midfielder Michael Carrick, Fellaini and of course Daley Blind. For most periods during Sir Alex’s reign, he made sure that at every point in time, he has at least one squad member (John O’shea or Owen Hagreaves who could fit into almost any position on the field.) Manchester United are a big club with plenty of cash and should have enough contingency plans to switch to in the case of an injury out break such as these.