Cheick Tiote’s set for a summer exit at Newcastle United – six months after a move to China fell through.
Tiote is looking for new challenge away from St James’s Park – and Rafa Benitez won’t stand in his way.
The midfielder came close to joining Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in January.
But the proposed £4million move broke down after weeks of talks.
The Ivory Coast international forced his way back into the team at the expense of £12million January signing Jonjo Shelvey in the latter weeks of the campaign.
But the 30-year-old has just a year left on his St James’s Park contract.
And the club is prepared to let the combative player leave – if the price is right.
Tiote, previously a target for Locomotiv Moscow, could belatedly head to China, where there is big money on offer to established Premier League players.
Newcastle signed Henri Saivet from Bordeaux in January in anticipation of Tiote’s departure.
The 25-year-old didn’t feature under Benitez, and he faces an uncertain future at St James’s Park.
The Gazette revealed last week that former United manager Alan Pardew is ready to offer Shelvey a Premier League lifeline at Crystal Palace. However, Shelvey’s wages at St James’s Park could prove to be a stumbling block to a deal.
Shelvey, Tiote and Saivet are due to report back for pre-season training next week along with those not involved in Euro 2016 or summer internationals.