Unlike the majority of their Premier League counterparts, Newcastle United’s squad seems to askew cosmopolitanism. Buttressed by an English spine, you can almost taste its Carling-flavoured depth.
This isn’t to suggest Geordies are a xenophobic bunch – rather, it’s a reflection on a monotonous birthplace-list nestling in a league where Wigan Athletic don’t include a single Englishman in their first-team.
With the signing of Cheick Tioté all but complete, Chris Hughton’s squad is gaining the seemingly-mandatory globalisation-embracing feel the 20 items in Richard Scudamore’s Premier League basket encompass.
The Ivory Coast star will line-up alongside an Argentine midfielder – both of whom will then be in front of a defence boasting a floppy-mopped chap from Córdoba, and a speedy Spaniard.
Tioté joins Alan Smith as the only man on Tyneside to have played under two England managers – Steve McClaren (FC Twente), and Sven-Göran Eriksson (Ivory Coast).
Physically, the centre-midfielder will have no problem in adjusting to the frenetic pace of Premier League life: Tioté is strong, powerful, agile, quick and possesses great balance. Continue reading