Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren has confirmed that midfielder Cheick Tiote is in talks to leave the club.
Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua are reportedly on the brink of signing the 29-year-old, a deal that would end his five-and-a-half-year stay at St James’ Park.
McClaren revealed an exit for Tiote was possible even though there is not yet a final agreement.
The former England boss said: “There is an approach from a Chinese team and Cheick is currently on his way to meet them.
“There is no agreement – nothing has been formalised or agreed. I think the player is just going out there to have a chat with them and see where that ends up.”
While Tiote could leave Newcastle, new signings Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet are in the running to make their debuts at home to West Ham on Saturday
McClaren said: “Jonjo and Henri have trained a couple of days and we knew their quality. It is about them bedding in and getting used to the team. Both players are in the squad and have a chance to play.
“It is such a tough time, a tough window. We are just delighted that in a busy period of three games in a week that we managed to bring in two quality midfield players, two quality players. The board have done a terrific job in bringing them in.”
Playmaker Florian Thauvin has been linked with a move back to Marseille, but McClaren confirmed he will be in the squad, as will fit-again duo Rolando Aarons and Emmanuel Riviere, while Siem de Jong is out for up to two weeks after being poked in the eye.
Marseille coach Michel himself was unwilling to delve into a discussion over a potential Thauvin return.
L’Equipe quoted him as saying: “I am not talking hypothesis. He is a player I saw a week before coming and he was not there when I arrived.
“He is a very good footballer, that is why Newcastle bought him but until the end of the winter transfer window, there is the president who talks about these matters.”