Cheik Tiote missed out on the weekend's match against West Ham as he was en route to China for discussions about joining Shanghai Shenhua. This much we know. The negotiations have hit a bump on the personal terms end of things. In the general picture, this shouldn't necessarily be surprising. Any thought that Tiote wasn't on the phone with his countryman Didier Drogba who spent 6 months of a 30-month contract with the club in 2012 is naive. That Drogba's time in China was so short and he was brought in on huge wages could suggest what the former Chelsea man's suggestion might well have been: "Get money!"
With the arrivals of Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet – a man who has essentially been brought in to be Tiote's direct replacement – Tiote's place in the squad is threatened at best. If Saivet settles in quickly enough, threatened becomes "redundant". Based on what we think we know about the move, it makes sense for everyone. The club stand to profit from a player who has every right to be looked at as a cut-rate purchase for most clubs in Europe. Tiote would seem to be assured regular first team football with a sizable increase in salary no matter how you slice it... he'll just have to settle for a few £ less than he thinks he can get. Lee Ryder has suggested today that as far as he can put together, the move is still very much on. It should be. It makes imminent sense.
Cheik Tiote Transfer Likelihood Index: A little more subdued than a pure green light... let's say shamrock green
On the other hand, Moussa Sissoko has been linked with Italian high-flyers Napoli. Newcastle have allegedly slapped a price tag in the neighborhood of £25m on the French international. In this instance, the club have very little incentive to sell, especially with rumors rampant that Florian Thauvin is following the Accelerated Cabella Career Path with a loan back to France. A move for Andros Townsend has shifted from a purchase to a half-season loan to a Daniel Levy is holding on to a player they don't want because he can (which is not nice but is his right). Unless something shifts in the Townsend situation, it is very unlikely that Newcastle would be shifting the player that has been first choice on the right side of midfield for three seasons now.
Sissoko will almost undoubtedly follow his countrymen Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy for pastures greener sooner than later, with the caveat that "sooner" doesn't include January unless someone (I'm looking at you Liverpool) comes in with a stupid money last-minute bid before the window SLAMS SHUT.
Moussa Sissoko Transfer Likelihood Index: Candy apple red. Because it's pretty.