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Cheick Tiote to fly Magpies nest this winter amid Arsenal interest

Newcastle United, 3/1 chances with Coral to be relegated this season, may lose Ivory Coast international defensive midfielder Cheick Tiote, as he has indicated he would be open to a January transfer window move to Arsenal.

The 28-year-old destroyer has won league titles in Belgium and the Netherlands, and could be the answer to Arsene Wenger’s anchorman problem. Known for his combative, tough-tackling style, Tiote has racked up over 100 Premier League appearances since joining the Magpies for a reported £3.5m in August 2010.

Current Gunners options for the holding role are club captain Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini, but both are aged 30 or over and have struggled for form and fitness at the Emirates this term. Tiote represents an experienced option to Wenger, and appears to welcome interest from the north London club.

Revealing they had been in touch over a mooted move during the summer, Tiote told the local press on Tyneside: “It is true there were contacts for me from Arsenal and a club in Russia. I’d prefer to stay in England.”

Any deal between Newcastle and the Gunners could be complicated by the Africa Cup of Nations, however, which is being held in Morocco and starts during the winter window (January 17th), finishing on February 8th. Tiote is a senior player in the Ivory Coast setup now, but qualification for that continental competition does not conclude until mid-November.

The Elephants face a double-header against the Democratic Republic of the Congo during October’s upcoming international break, which could make or break their chances of reaching this tournament finals.

Currently on three points after two matches in qualifying Group D, the Ivory Coast need to finish either first or runners-up in a pool that also contains Cameroon and Sierra Leone, or be the best ranked third place side to advance.

Arsenal are holders of the FA Cup, and 15/2 chances to retain that trophy, but Tiote would be unavailable for the early rounds of a potential defence if he does ditch the Magpies. He would follow in the footsteps of compatriots Emmanuel Eboue, Gervinho and Kolo Toure in playing for the Gunners.