Monday saw Sky Sports reporting that Christian Atsu was in talks with Newcastle United to complete a permanent transfer.
A fee of £6.2m is said to have been agreed last summer when the loan arrangement was sorted, with now only the player’s personal terms and consent needed for the move to happen.
Whatever happens, it is clear that Atsu feels as though this past season has given a major lift to his career, having started just four league matches in the previous two years.
Speaking after Newcastle won the title, Christian Atsu said ‘Whatever happens in the future…I thank the fans, Rafa, everyone at the club’.
As for what will happen next, the Ghanaian international added ‘I cannot predict football, I will go back to Chelsea first, then we will see’.
“I have not heard from Newcastle.
“What I will say though, is that I owe them thanks.
“They have given me an opportunity, it is a big club.
“Whatever happens in the future…I thank the fans, Rafa, everyone at the club.
“I cannot say what will happen, I cannot predict football.
“I will go back to Chelsea first, then we will see.”
A fee of around £6m or so looks about right for a player who has blown hot and cold this past season but has undoubtedly shown glimpses of real quality in that time.
If Newcastle do reach agreement with Christian Atsu, the move would then formally go through when the transfer window opens once again this summer.
Christian Atsu joined Chelsea for £3.5m four years ago from Porto and is just one of numerous players recruited by Chelsea who hasn’t played a single game for them.
He clearly is never going to get a chance for Conte’s Premier League winning side and with now just one year remaining of his five season deal, he looks definitely to be on his way, whether that is Newcastle or elsewhere.
St James Park has been his fifth loan destination since joining the blues and if he is ever going to get his career going properly, Christian Atsu needs a place he can call home.
He has scored five goals and grabbed three assists in the Championship for Newcastle.
Rafa Benitez only gave him 15 starts in the Championship, six in 2016 and nine after the turn of the year, whilst he has also came off the bench 17 times in the league.
He did have some injury problems but in 18 months at Premier League Everton and Bournemouth on loan, Christian Atsu only started one game in the top tier.
He turns 26 in January and has only made 78 league starts in his entire career, making more first elevens for Ghana than any club he has been at so far.
Christian Atsu did end the season with a few more starts, at least in part down to Matt Ritchie’s injury/suspension and did pull his finger out as the campaign drew to a close. The final three matches seeing goals against Preston and Cardiff, as well as a very good performance against Barnsley on the final day.