Arsenal Transfer News: Cheick Tiote a Sub-Standard Solution for Gunners Midfield

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 13, 2014

In a bid to shore up their midfield steel, Arsenal have reportedly turned to Newcastle United's Cheick Tiote as part of the club's latest transfer surge.

The Gunners have been linked with a host of midfield targets this summer, and Sam Adams of the Mirror says that an £8 million move for the Ivorian is now in the works.

But at a time when Arsenal are hoping to break new ground and evolve past previous boundaries, Tiote represents a mediocre move, not the one of ambition that Wenger should be hunting.

One exceptionally more talented alleged target of the club's this summer has been Real Madrid's Sami Khedira. However, talkSPORT quotes Wenger in saying the German has never been in his sights, hinting that no more faces are needed in the middle of the park:

"I don't know who has put Khedira on the market - is it his agent or the press? We were never close to signing him. Jack Wilshere is back fit and in midfield we have offensive midfielders and quite a few box-to-box players."

Numbers are all well and good, of course, but for a club hoping to upgrade on last season's FA Cup victory and challenge for even greater silverware this term, genuine quality is needed.

Wenger is right to an extent. Wilshere is capable in a deeper-lying role, while Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Abou Diaby and to some extent Tomas Rosicky offer some worth in the anchored position, but a specialist is what's needed.

In that vein of thinking, Tiote might fit the description in terms of priorities and what he brings to the cause, but the Magpie isn't of the standard needed for what Arsenal should now be aspiring to.

A lack of thoughtfulness in positioning and rash judgement are some aspects of the 28-year-old that wouldn't necessarily coax confidence out of the Emirates Stadium faithful, with WhoScored.com hinting at why that is:

As things stand, Wenger's resident midfield madman is Mathieu Flamini, a figure who already brings enough of a cautionary threat to the table without Tiote's proneness for yellow cards added in.

If Tiote were to sign as a cheaper alternative, it would give the club a plug to fill a void, but a misshapen one at that, one that so frustratingly still allows leakage.

Cheick Tiote 2013-14 Statistical Comparison
PlayerPremier League Apps.GoalsPass Accuracy (%)Chances CreatedAverage Duels Won (%)
Cheick Tiote330872346
Mikel Arteta312921947
Aaron Ramsey2310843247
Jack Wilshere243863250
Tomas Rosicky272853444
Squawka.com

If the club aren't intent on fixing the issue this summer, it would be better to entrust Mikel Arteta with the duties once again and save their efforts for next summer—Wenger is known to disapprove of January business.

Tiote has prospects of his own at St. James', though, and Scott Wilson of the Northern Echo quotes him in speaking highly of Newcastle's top-four chances:

At present, it's very much a case of Wenger having good-but-not-great options at his disposal regarding the role in question. Even Arteta, the club's most capable anchor, isn't a natural in the position.

However, with the 32-year-old's contract gradually running closer to its end, the club will be under more pressure to resolve his upcoming absence next summer, but that's preferable to bringing in inferior assets prematurely.

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