The Newcastle manager, Rafael Benítez, is closing in on his first signing after the club’s return to the Premier League after agreeing a fee with Chelsea for the midfielder Christian Atsu.
It is understood that the two clubs have reached agreement on a deal which would cost Newcastle in the region of £6m for the 25-year-old Ghana international, Christian Atsu, after the promoted club took up an option to make the player’s loan move permanent. However, there is still a distance to go before the transfer is completed.
Atsu made 32 league appearances and scored five goals for Newcastle this season either side of a trip to the Africa Cup of Nations with his country, who lost to eventual winners Cameroon in the semi-finals.
He took time to settle into life in the Championship but made a significant impact towards the end of the campaign as Newcastle staged a late fightback to snatch the title from Brighton’s grasp.
Christian Atsu scored in the 4-1 victory over Preston which secured promotion and again in a 2-0 win at Cardiff four days later which set the stage for a dramatic final day.
Atsu joined Chelsea in a £3.5m switch from Porto during the summer of 2013 and has since had loan spells at Vitesse Arnhem, Everton, Bournemouth and Málaga as well as St James’ Park.
Benítez and managing director, Lee Charnley, who have been told by owner Mike Ashley that they can spend “every last penny” the club generates through promotion and player sales minus running costs, are keen to have their business done early as they prepare for the challenge of establishing the club back in the top flight.
Atsu’s capture would represent a good start and signal the start of a concerted recruitment drive with the Spaniard in no doubt that his squad needs to be much stronger.