While most believe Arsene Wenger could still nick one final transfer withing the next 24 hours of this window, it does not look like it will be Newcastle’s defensive midfielder Cheik Tiote, with the Daily Mail reporting that Wenger will wait instead till the summer before making a major buy in that role.
There had been some reports in past weeks that talks were already underway between representatives of the player and Arsenal but with some other sources confident that an agreement is already in place for a certain French midfielder in the South Coast, plans to move for Tiote, it would appear, have been swiftly aborted.
Currently on duty with the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations, Tiote has been largely linked with a switch to the Emirates especially when it became apparent that Alan Pardew would be leaving Newcastle.
He had personally revealed that “it was true” that Arsenal indicated interest in signing him over the summer, as well as a Russian club. He, however, said that he would prefer to stay “in England” – a statement which is curiously open-ended as it is nowhere near a confirmation of loyalty to Newcastle.
He was a trusted machinery of Alan Pardew’s during the tides and turbulence at Tyneside, even being handed the captain’s armband on regular occasions when Fabricio Collocini would not be available.
Wenger has acquired 17-year old Krystian Bielik as a potential long-term solution in defensive midfield and while Francis Coquelin has emerged as one who could be trusted to do a job for six months, many still believe a real commanding defensive midfielder who can combine the Coquelin’s aggression with Arteta’s organization and distribution would still be required in the coming summer.
Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin has been the main person in the rumours and if the Saints are reportedly on the lookout for replacements already in the persons of Jordie Classie, it adds weight to the stories that Arsenal may have already held down a deal for that role and so there would be no need to go on with Tiote.
There is still the ‘legend’ that is Mattieu Flamini and the ‘mystery’ that is Abou Dibay, both labeled as holding midfielders in Wenger’s book and though both could be on their ways out of the club after this season, there does not appear a need for Tiote at this time.
And then, Ramsey, Wilshere and Rosicky also add to the general competition in the Arsenal midfield, while youngsters like Gedion Zelalem and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are fighting for their opportunities.
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