MANCHESTER United have run the rule over Cheik Tiote on the eve of the transfer window – as Newcastle keep an eye on his former FC Twente team-mate Douglas Franco Teixeira.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is desperate to keep midfield enforcer Tiote at St James’s Park.
But Pardew – who was understood to be watching a game in Europe yesterday – knows every player has his price at the club, and he’s braced for one or more bids for Tiote next month.
Chelsea’s interest in the 25-year-old is already well known, and Man United could be ready to rival them for Tiote.
Sir Alex Ferguson – who is looking to strengthen his midfield options – sent his brother Martin, the club’s chief scout, to watch Tiote make his comeback from a knee injury in Saturday’s goalless draw against Swansea City.
Pardew insisted last week there was no need for the club to sell Tiote, though Andy Carroll’s £35m sale to Liverpool in January underlined the fact that every player has his price at United.
Tiote, for his part, is not pushing for a move, and remains focused on his career with the club he joined from FC Twente last year, and the Ivory Coast’s African Cup of Nations campaign next month.
Ferguson – who failed to sign Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder in the summer – needs to add to his midfield options in the transfer window, having lost Darren Fletcher for the time being to a medical problem.
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas – who is willing to do a player-plus-cash deal for Tiote – has a rebuilding job on his hands at Stamford Bridge, where he inherited an ageing squad.
Tiote signed a new six-and-a-half year deal last season a few months after joining from FC Twente in a move which both rewarded the player for his impressive start to life at United, and protected the club’s investment.
Meanwhile, Pardew is looking to sign a defender in the transfer window with Steven Taylor almost certainly out for the season with an Achilles injury.
And one name that has been brought to the club’s attention is FC Twente’s Douglas Franco Teixeira, who is reportedly a target of Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers.
Known simply as Douglas, the imposing centre-half is a former team-mate of Tiote’s during his time at the Dutch club.
The 23-year-old was born in Brazil, but has Dutch citizenship, and his contract runs out next summer.
Douglas is understood to be keen to play in the Premier League, and United were represented when FC Twente played Fulham earlier this season.