Cheick Tiote will NOT be involved in Newcastle United’s FA Cup tie at the Kassam Stadium – as he’s close to finalising a move away from the club.
The Gazette understands that the midfielder is wanted by clubs in China and Kazakhstan.
We have clubs interested in him (Tiote), and then we need to decide.Rafa Benitez
And United manager Rafa Benitez has left Tiote out of his squad for this afternoon’s fourth-round tie against Oxford United.
The 30-year-old, out of contract in the summer, could finalise a move next week, though the Chinese transfer window is open for several more weeks.
Asked about Tiote’s situation, Benitez said: “It’s still the same.
“We have clubs interested in him, and then we need to decide.
“He will not be involved (against Oxford).”
Tiote played in Newcastle’s third-round tie against Birmingham City at St Andrew’s and the replay at St James’s Park.
The Ivory Coast international said goodbye to fans as he left the field after the second game, which United won 3-1 to book the fourth-round tie against Oxford.
Benitez is expecting a “difficult game” at a sold-out Kassam Stadium.
“I can see a difficult game,” said Benitez, who will rest a number of players.
“It is a massive game for them, and they will approach the game that way.
“At the same time, I have confidence in my players. I am confident we can go through.
“If we can go through (while) managing the squad, then fantastic.
“If not, we have to concentrate on the league.”