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Newcastle United are set to complete their first signing ahead of their return to the Premier League. According to reports coming from Sky Sports, the EFL Championship title winners are in negotiations with Premier League champions Chelsea to sign winger Christian Atsu on a permanent deal in the summer.
The 25-year old Atsu spent the ongoing campaign on loan at the St. James’ Park and has managed to convince manager Rafael Benitez to make the move a permanent one. The reports claim Newcastle will be able to sign the attacker for a fee of £6.2million.
Atsu joined Chelsea in the summer of 2013 from Portuguese side FC Porto, but struggled to break into the first team picture at the Stamford Bridge and hasn’t made a single appearance for the Blues. In the past three years, the Ghanaian international has spent loan spells at Vitesse Arnhem, Everton, Bournemouth and Malaga with varying degrees of success.
However, he has had a fairly decent season with the Magpies in the second-tier of English football this term. Atsu’s importance at the Tyneside outfit kept growing as the season progressed as he finished the campaign with 5 goals and 3 assists from 32 Championship appearances, playing a hand in Newcastle’ return to the top-flight.
In the latter stages of the season, Atsu displayed the abilities that can make him a dangerous option to have in the ranks, as he scored two in two in the wins against Preston North End and Cardiff City that sealed Newcastle’s promotion.
A confident player on the ball, he has the raw pace and trickery that can cause opposition defence some trouble and has the technical ability to strike the ball from distance. However, Atsu is still a raw and unpolished talent that will need refining to succeed at the topmost level. Benitez seems to have seen enough of him to be convinced that he can turn the winger into a formidable player.
Furthermore, the 25-year old has accumulated a total of 50 national appearances for the Ghana national team, scoring 10 times and chalking up 7 assists, which is indicative of the fact that he is a player with plenty of quality.
Atsu has just a year left on his contract with Chelsea and it is very clear that there is no future for the Ghanaian international at the Stamford Bridge.
With Yoan Gouffran also set to leave the St. James’ Park at the end of his current contract a month later, the Magpies will be left with little to no options on the left-flank. At a price of £6.2million, Atsu does not represent a huge risk for Newcastle, considering his age and the glimpses of pure talent and the potential that he has shown. And taking into account the fact that he has spent a season with the team already and has been a part of a successful campaign may also help him do better in the upcoming seasons. Considering all the factors in play, Atsu could prove to be a shrewd buy for Newcastle.