Tiote consults witch doctor to help secure Chelsea switch
Published 22:58 10/12/11 By Oliver Pickup
Cheick Tiote has enlisted the help of his favourite witch doctor in a bizarre bid to regain full fitness for Newcastle.
As Sunday Mirror Sport revealed last month, Tiote is set to join Chelsea in a £25million deal – if the Blues can beat away a counter offer from Manchester United.
But the Toon want him fit as soon as possible after a knee injury.
So the Ivory Coast star was given permission by club owner Mike Ashley to fly back to his homeland to see the shaman.
The 25-year-old has fluid on his right knee which is causing pain and restricting his movement when twisting and turning. He has already missed vital Premier League games against Manchester United, Chelsea and leaders Manchester City.
The injury is taking too long to heal, in Tiote’s opinion. So with Ashley’s blessing he flew back to Yamoussoukro, capital of the Ivory Coast, for his bizarre treatment.
The shaman – wearing a leafy head-dress – performed a ritual involving mysterious chanting, singing and prayers so that Tiote’s injury curse would be broken.
He has not played for Toon since October 22, when his high-flying side beat Wigan 1-0.
Alan Pardew’s team were undefeated in the Premier League this season when the combative African was playing, highlighting just how important he is to the north-east club. Without him, Newcastle’s form has deteriorated markedly.
The African has looked a bargain since arriving from FC Twente for £3.5m in August 2010. His advisers have been in England trying to thrash out a deal which could take the midfielder to Stamford Bridge in the summer for around £25m.
United are expected to submit a bid to rival Chelsea’s. Both clubs had originally hoped to seal Tiote’s signature in the January transfer window but it is now likely to happen next summer.
With the Africa Cup of Nations due to start in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in January, and running into February, Tiote has indicated he would prefer to stay at Newcastle this season.