REUTERS - Midfielder Cheick Tiote has completed a switch to Chinese second-division side Beijing Enterprises from Newcastle United, the English club said on Thursday.
Tiote, who joined Newcastle from FC Twente in August 2010, made 156 appearances for the Championship (second-tier) club, and becomes the latest player to swap Europe for the riches on offer in China.
Chinese clubs have made a number of high-profile signings recently, such as top-flight Shanghai SIPG buying Brazil midfielder Oscar from Chelsea for 60 million euros ($64 million).
Shanghai Shenhua, who were dumped out of Asia’s top club competition by Australian side Brisbane Roar on Wednesday, signed Argentine striker Carlos Tevez for a reported 84 million euros.
“The club can now confirm that Cheick Tiote has joined Chinese second-tier side Beijing Enterprises for an undisclosed fee,” Newcastle said in a statement. (www.nufc.co.uk)
“Tiote leaves with the club’s best wishes for the future.”
The Ivory Coast midfielder has fallen down the pecking order at Newcastle under manager Rafael Benitez, making three appearances in all competitions this season.
Newcastle newspaper The Chronicle reported that the club would earn an initial 1 million pounds ($1.3 million) from Tiote’s move, which could rise by another 500,000 pounds.
Tiote’s former club FC Twente are entitled to a percentage of any sell-on fee above 4.5 million euros.
($1 = 0.9365 euros)
($1 = 0.7959 pounds)
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson