CHEICK Tioté wants to see talk about his future shelved until Newcastle United’s Champions League fate is decided.
The Ivorian midfielder is the subject of interest from Arsenal and Chelsea but remains happy at St James’ Park. And the club’s emergence as European challengers has convinced him he can achieve his ambitions on Tyneside.
Now he wants to eliminate outside influences and summon one final effort to help Newcastle close out one of the club’s finest achievements in the Premier League era.
United’s approach to transfers is well known, and their strategy of selling if a buyer offers significantly over their stated valuation will not change because of the overwhelming success of the club.
They have replacements and replacements for those replacements logged into their scouting logs – and the club continually monitor the market.
The Journal understands another of the club’s now bi-weekly transfer summits took place on Tyneside yesterday with Derek Llambias and Graham Carr in attendance.
However, the player’s personal resolve to stay must also be taken into account, and there are few United stars who want to opt out of the closely-knit group that Alan Pardew has managed to create.
Tioté, who holds grave reservations about leaving an area he has fallen in love with, clearly feels that way.
“Yes, I can achieve what I want to here,” he said. “I don’t know about the speculation. I have four games to play, I think I have to focus on the games because they are important games for the club and for everybody. After the season, we will see.”
Buoyed by European football, United’s summer project will see them target three or four blue-chip names to challenge the first team with a number of younger players in the Mehdi Abeid mould added to bubble under the established XI.
They will announce the capture of Romain Amalfitano, who has been playing for Reims in Ligue 2 this season, in the weeks following the end of the season but yesterday brought a fresh batch of reports that he has penned a three-year deal with the Tyneside club. The attacking midfielder is the brother of France star Morgan, who plays for Marseille.
At 23 he will be expected to supplement the first-team squad, and will be another option for Pardew next term.
United have also extended the trial of Australian defender Curtis Good, the left-footed Melbourne Heart defender who has been at the club for the past seven days. At 19, he is seen as one for the future. Things are looking bright for this season, though, and Tioté is confident that the one anomaly – Demba Ba’s lack of goals – will be solved soon. Ba was excellent on Saturday but failed to find the net, his tenth straight game without a goal. The Senegal striker has never endured a run like this before but Tioté is certain the goals will flow again.
“For Demba it is unbelievable that he did not score. He played so well on Saturday,” he said. “But if he keeps playing that he will score and he will score goals all the time.”
As long as Papiss Demba Cissé continues to find the net it will not have a material effect on United – and Tioté admits he has been shocked at the impact the Senegal forward has had.
“For him it is natural to score goals. It feels normal,” he said. “As a striker, it is important to score those goals. If you don’t, you start to worry but he scores every game. It is good for the team too.”