Newcastle’s season has been hurtling towards bottom-half mediocrity for a while now, with Swansea priced up at indicatively-short 9/5 odds to inflict a sixth defeat in seven matches on Alan Pardew’s side in the Magpies’ own backyard.
An exodus is expected at St James’ Park this summer, with on-loan striker Loic Remy almost certain to hot foot his way to a more stable situation, and midfielder Cheick Tiote – who’s made over 100 Premier League appearances for the club – is also attracting attention from more illustrious outfits.
The Ivory Coast international will join international teammates such as Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure at the World Cup in Brazil, bar injury, when the Elephants attempt to overcome 10/3 odds in winning their Group C ahead of 5/6 favourites Colombia.
Tiote could find himself lining up alongside the Manchester City man in midfield more often, if reports that Manuel Pellegrini has made the 27-year-old one of his prime summer transfer targets is to be believed.
Pellegrini needs high-class cover for Toure and Brazil bruiser Fernandinho, with Spaniard Javi Garcia – who was brought to the club by the Chilean’s predecessor, Roberto Mancini – clearly out of favour and generally utilised as an auxiliary defender this term.
They may face stiff competition for Tiote’s signature as Manchester United and Arsenal are known to be long-time admirers of the holding-midfielder, although Chelsea’s interest is said to have cooled considerably following the Blues’ recapture of Nemanja Matic from Benfica.
Despite picking up just five points from their last available 12, City are far from out of the Premier League title race at a top-price 13/2 with Ladbrokes, and Pellegrini’s men will be despearte for a 2/9 win against West Brom at the Etihad.
However, the Baggies would surely end the blue half of Manchester’s title hopes with a survival-boosting 11/1 win, while a draw that would prove little help to either team can be backed at 11/2.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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