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Chelsea will launch a £20million January bid to land Newcastle midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote.

Andres Villas-Boas has made the combative Ivory Coast midfielder his top New Year target, but knows he will face tough competition from Manchester United.

And Toon boss Alan Pardew is warning potential suitors that they will have to break the bank to land a player who cost just £3.5m from Twente Enschede sixteen months ago.

Significantly, Pardew has not ruled out a Tiote departure in the next window, but is adamant that it will take a mega-money, Andy Carroll-style offer to prise the coveted 25-year-old from Newcastle’s grasp. The Toon top brass are very much aware of Chelsea’s interest in Tiote, who has been tracked by the ­Stamford Bridge regime since Carlo ­Ancelloti’s reign.

The Londoners tried to sign Tiote in ­January and again showed interest in July. But now the signs are that it could be third time lucky for Chelsea with ­Newcastle’s policy of self-suffiency indicating that every player has his price.

Pardew was candid in his assessment of potential ­January moves for Tiote, but insisted Newcastle are in a position to demand top dollar for not only Tiote, but any of their stars.

The Toon boss said: “It is going to cost a hell of a lot of money, a hell of a lot of money because we’re in that position now.

“I think any of our players that get linked to other clubs, those clubs are going to need to know they’ll need to pay a shed load of money to get anyone out of this football club.”

When asked if potential suitors would have to come up with the sort of deal that made £35m Carroll the most expensive English footballer in history- Pardew replied: “Absolutely!”

He added: “I don’t envisage anyone going out in this ­window.

“But if a club, one of the top clubs, comes in and wants to pay way, way over the odds we’ll have to look at it.”

Whatever happens, Tiote is going to be away on international duty with the Ivory Coast in January and Pardew admits that Newcastle have to plan for all eventualities.

A deal for Sochaux and Mali striker Modibo Maiga is ­already pencilled in as one of two possible incomings, but the Toon boss admits there may be a third signing if Tiote or anyone else departs.

He explained: “We have looked at the African Nations Cup and we have looked at the next window.

“I think the maximum we would do is two players in. That would be our maximum. Then if anyone left, it would be a third.”

But Chelsea are determined to get their man this time and believe that in Michael ­Essien — Tiote’s role model — and Didier Drogba, his Ivorian international team-mate and close friend. they have two aces they can play to lure their target to London.

The Toon hardman, who equalled the Premier League bookings record last term with 14 yellow cards, has ­previously insisted he is happy at Newcastle, but has expressed a desire to play Champions League football.

Newcastle are in a powerful position having persuaded Tiote to sign a new six-and-a-half year deal in February which strengthened their ­bargaining hand.

Source: Mirror

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