The Newcastle boss confirmed the midfielder could bring an end to his five-and-half-year stay at St James's Park, with the future of summer signing Florian Thauvin also in doubt
Shanghai Shenhua are reportedly on the brink of signing the 29-year-old in a deal that would end his five-and-a-half-year stay at St James' Park.
"There is an approach from a Chinese team and Cheick is currently on his way to meet them," McClaren told reporters.
"There is no agreement – nothing has been formalised or agreed. I think the player is just going out there to have a chat with them and see where that ends up."
Tiote faces extra competition for a place at Newcastle in the form of new signings Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet, who are in the running to make their debuts at home to West Ham on Saturday.
"Jonjo and Henri have trained a couple of days and we knew their quality," McClaren continued. "It is about them bedding in and getting used to the team. Both players are in the squad and have a chance to play.
"It is such a tough time, a tough window. We are just delighted that in a busy period of three games in a week that we managed to bring in two quality midfield players, two quality players. The board have done a terrific job in bringing them in."
McClaren confirmed out-of-favour Florian Thauvin will be in the squad, along with fit-again duo Rolando Aarons and Emmanuel Riviere, and Marseille coach Michel has refused to comment on the possibility of the midfielder returning to Marseille.
"I am not talking hypotheses," he said according to L'Equipe. "He is a player I saw a week before coming and he was not there when I arrived.
"He is a very good footballer, that is why Newcastle bought him, but until the end of the winter transfer window there is the president who talks about these matters."