Chieke Tiote
Newcastle United's Tiote challenges Swansea City's Allen during their English Premier League soccer match in Newcastle

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."