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Jeff Stelling Says Man Utd Should Sign Tioté
Hartlepool fan and SKY TV presenter Jeff Stelling says Toon manager Alan Pardew could struggle to keep his players in the January transfer market.
Jeff Stelling: “The surprise package of the Premier League has been Newcastle.
“It’s fantastic for Newcastle and all the cynics – and I was definitely one – have been made to eat our words. I’m over-flowing with humble pie.
“There’s a number of reasons for it. The first thing is for the early part of the season they had that rock-solid back five.
“They just look to have such a well-drilled side defensively, and that gave them a platform to build on. They had to do without Cheick Tioté for a while and they coped quite well.
“At the other end of the field they’ve got Demba Ba, and Leon Best initially did really well too. The other thing for Newcastle is their work ethic. Everybody works their socks off, no one more so than Jonás Gutiérrez.
“Demba Ba had a great goalscoring record at Hoffenheim and at West Ham, and since he came to England his record for staying injury-free has been very good too.
“A lot of managers have been made to look a bit foolish after deciding not to sign him because of his knee problems.
“It’s important Newcastle keep hold of their best players – Tioté in particular because there are some big boys looking for a midfield player.
“He looks like he’s been absolutely fantastic this season. A lot of credit must go to the scouting staff at Newcastle, not just for him but a couple of the other boys who have come in too.
“Those of us living down in the south have raised our eyebrows at how well a few of them have done.
“Tioté is a classic example of a brilliant piece of buying.
“Newcastle fans won’t thank me for saying this, but I look at Man United and their need for a midfield player who can put his foot in and Tiote would be ideal.
“I can see him being a Roy Keane-type figure for them.
“But then Sir Alex Ferguson’s not going to buy, so that should be a relief for Newcastle fans!
“From Newcastle’s point of view he’s priceless.
“The big question mark is over the depth of Newcastle’s squad.
“Alan Pardew will know it’s not deep enough to finish in the top four, but at the start of the season, which Newcastle fan would have thought they could finish in the top four?
“If they finish seventh, eighth or ninth this season, that’s a bloody good job.
“Everybody remembers the transfer window last season and particularly Andy Carroll.
“I just hope the owner and the board resist the temptation because there’s a top six, seven or eight finish within their grasp.”
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