Former Newcastle United midfielder Mick Martin believes club star Cheick Tiote could be sold to Manchester United in the January transfer window.
The Cote d'Ivore international has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for a number of months and Sir Alex Ferguson is reportedly weighing up a bid as he looks to bolster his midfield in the New Year.
The Manchester United manager is in the market for a central midfielder after Darren Fletcher was ruled out for the season with a chronic bowel complaint.
The Scot is also without Manchester United midfielders Tom Cleverley and Anderson until the New Year and recent reports have linked Tiote with a January switch.
The Manchester United-target, who was bought for £3.5m in August 2010, is valued at close to £20m after impressing for the Magpies since his arrival.
And former Republic of Ireland international Martin feels the club will not be able to refuse a big-money offer should Ferguson open his chequebook in January.
"On the one hand Tiote could go if the price is right," Martin told talkSPORT.
"He's a good player and the track record says that if someone comes in with £20m he'll go, but on the other hand, to appease the local people I couldn't believe that Mike Ashley wouldn't give Alan Pardew money.
"According to the local players [Ashley] is quite prepared [to do that]. He's given the instructions to Pardew to look at a couple of players, whatever he wants, and the money will be available to him."