Unsettled pair in limbo at Newcastle after club reject bids
Cheick Tiote is back in training at Newcastle United '“ after the club rejected a bid for him.
Tiote was left out of the squad for Tuesday night’s friendly against Southend United amid talks with Abu Dhabi side Al Jazira Club.
But Newcastle are understood to have rejected a formal bid for the 30-year-old, who is looking to leave the club this summer.
And Tiote is back in training ahead of tomorrow’s final friendly against Vitesse Arnhem at St James’s Park (3pm kick-off).
United have also turned down an offer from Lazio for winger Florian Thauvin.
The bid fell well short of the £12million Newcastle paid for the unsettled 23-year-old – who spent the second half of last season on loan at former club Olympique Marseille – a year ago.
However, the odds are still on Tiote and Thauvin leaving St James’s Park this summer.
Al Jazira are likely to return with an improved bid for Tiote, who came close to joining Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua early this year.
And Lazio could also raise their bid for Thauvin, who is also a loan target for Marseille.
There has been renewed speculation linking wantaway midfielder Moussa Sissoko with Real Madrid.
The club are reportedly considering a move for the 26-year-old after losing out on Manchester United-bound Paul Pogba.
Sissoko, also interesting Juventus and Everton, is due to report back to United on Monday after being allowed to miss the club’s pre-season campaign in the wake of his participation at Euro 2016 with finalists France.
Meanwhile, Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez feels his team still have work to do ahead of the start of the season.
“Normally, pre-season is about working hard,” said Benitez, who took his players to Ireland for a week-long training camp earlier this month.
“We are doing that. The time we were in Ireland was quite good, then after it we have played two games a week.
“That is about managing the fitness of the players and making sure they have some minutes during the games.
“We can see that the team is going well, but we have to improve physically too.”