Cheik Tiote has admitted that he is flattered by talk of a move to big clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool, and the defensive midfielder has revealed that it has made him think twice about his position at Newcastle.
Tiote has starred for the Toon this season, and taken the club to surprisingly high heights, despite a great deal of controversy taking place behind the scenes over the summer.
And while the rumours of Manchester United and Liverpool chasing the star seemed a little far-fetched, with Tiote having just recently signing a five year deal with Alan Pardew, the 25 year old has admitted that he is considering his options in preparation for January.
"I am flattered but there is nothing official," Tiote said, as reported by Metro.
"When teams such as Chelsea, City, Liverpool and United are interested in you it makes you think twice, but I love Newcastle."
Numerous news outlets have put Tiote's worth at around £25 million, with his value soaring from the £3.5 million the club paid for him in 2010.
United have continually denied that they are interested in any targets that would be available in January, but the club are facing a pile of injury concerns, and should they need to make a purchase, Newcastle have never been adverse to listening to offers for their best players.
And Liverpool would know this first hand, after purchasing Andy Carroll from the club when he hit top form for a record fee of £35 million (which was broken minutes later when Liverpool sold Fernando Torres for £50 million).
While Tiote also name checked Chelsea and City, Liverpool and United would appear to be front runners, with the Blues making their intentions clear to purchase a centre back, while City having signed defensive midfielder Owen Hargreaves in the summer.
Pardew admitted that if a club like United or Liverpool came knocking, Newcastle would be open to a deal, but he hopes the Ivory Coast international stays at St James Park for a while yet.
"You never know with the window - it's such a minefield of possibilities," he said.
"We have one or two players here that top clubs, I'm sure, would be interested in.
"The one thing I would say is that they will have to pay a lot of money to take anyone out of here because we're in a good position - not just on the playing side but financially.
"Cheick is a big target because he's a great player and great players will be targeted. We value him very highly here and I think, on my part, I expect him to stay.
"But that does not mean to say something might not come out of the fire. If he did go, it would have to be for a silly price."