Why Cheick Tiote Is the No. 1 Newcastle Player Tottenham Would Love to Sign

Sam Rooke@@SamRooke89Featured ColumnistApril 17, 2015

Newcastle United's Cheick Tiote during their English Premier League soccer match against Chelsea at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Newcastle United have a number of excellent players who could appeal to Tottenham Hotspur.

Moussa Sissoko, for one, is a lovely footballer. Balanced, elegant and capable in both attack and defence, the France midfielder would certainly look at home in Spurs' lineup. He could easily take up Ryan Mason's role in their preferred three-man midfield.

Probably Newcastle's best individual talent, Sissoko is likely to emulate Yohan Cabaye and move up in the world before long.

Cabaye, having left for Paris Saint-Germain in January 2014, is not eligible in this exercise. He would be the best option if he were.

Young forwards Ayoze Perez and Sammy Ameobi have both shown they have the potential to be dangerous Premier League players. Both would be useful additions to Spurs' attack.

Daryl Janmaat is a rugged and reliable full-back who would have come in handy during Kyle Walker's extended injury absence this season.

Spurs have a Sissoko-type player—several in fact. Mason and Mousa Dembele both offer comparably balanced skill sets.

The return of Walker and the promise of youngsters such as Ryan Fredericks, DeAndre Yedlin and Kyle Walker-Peters mean that Janmaat would not be a priority.

Even in attack, where Spurs are arguably at their thinnest, neither Perez nor Ameobi would improve the squad significantly.

Cheick Tiote is the kind of player Spurs don't have and desperately need.

Absolute scenes in the Gallowgate! #Tiote #NUFC http://t.co/D3DjGOzkMs

— James Hocking© (@JimmyHock22) February 5, 2015

An aggressive, conservative midfielder, Tiote is a weapon who could be selectively used by Mauricio Pochettino to close down games and protect his error-prone defence.

Pochettino has stuck rigidly to his system this season, but he is not against deploying a defensive midfielder.

Morgan Schneiderlin rose to international stardom in that role under Pochettino last season and would be perfect for Spurs too.

Tiote is not Schneiderlin but would come at a fraction of the cost and is a more destructive player.

Pochettino demands his midfielders show ambition in possession—Mason's aggressive forward passing is testament to that—so a purely destructive player might not fit the bill. However, Tiote would add starch to a midfield that has often been accused of going limp without the ball.

He fits a mould no other player at Tottenham can.

Benjamin Stambouli and Etienne Capoue are both essentially defensive midfielders, but neither has been able to convince Pochettino to use them in that role in the Premier League.

Unfortunately for Spurs fans, Tiote is injured and won't get the chance to patrol the midfield when they travel to St James' Park on Sunday. If he were fit, it would be an opportunity to see exactly the sort of player that they are missing.

Not since Sandro was at his brilliant best some four years ago have Spurs had the kind of player that Tiote has been for Newcastle.

Of course, signing Tiote would have its drawbacks.

As an Ivory Coast regular, the Africa Cup of Nations means he would be unavailable in January every two years.

His discipline is also an issue; since joining the Magpies in 2010, Tiote has amassed 54 yellow cards and been sent off on two occasions.

In an injury-ravaged 2014-15 season, Tiote has improved slightly but still been booked five times in his 11 Premier League appearances.

Tiote is a sledgehammer not a scalpel, but he would be the perfect player to add to Spurs' squad because he differs from the more technical players they already have.

#Tiote was excellent in the DMC yet again. 66/73 pass completion, 8 ball recoveries and pressed all game. #NUFC pic.twitter.com/Ax6We9Tz3m

— Matt Smith (@ElasticoChop) November 23, 2013

An athlete first and footballer second, Tiote has the stamina to fit Pochettino's high-energy system, while his aggression would also be welcome in Spurs' timid midfield.

He is also a Premier League veteran when compared to most of Spurs' lineups this season. His experience would be almost as valuable as his tenacity.

When this season winds down and attention turns to the preparations for the next campaign, Spurs will surely be looking for a player like Tiote.

They are unlikely to actually move for the Ivorian himself, given his limitations in terms of age, recent injury record and availability, but he could serve as a template for the kind of player they will search for.


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