As first reported by Voetbal International's Stef de Bont, Christian Atsu won't be returning to Vitesse next season.
The 22-year-old Ghanaian put his skills on display at the World Cup (in addition to his excellent work rate, his crossing ability is truly world class), and as a result "half of the Premier League and Bundesliga is after him," according to Vitesse manager Peter Bosz.
While the wealth of attacking midfielders would make it very difficult for Atsu to carve out any significant role at Stamford Bridge this season, securing a loan in either league would be an ideal next step towards achieving the ultimate goal of developing Atsu into a regular contributor in the Chelsea first team.
While it is becoming more difficult for non-EU youngsters to secure English work permits, Atsu will automatically qualify by virtue of his experience with the Black Stars, and as such, the Premier League could be an option for the upcoming season.
In order for a non-EU player to automatically qualify for a work permit, he must have appeared in 75% of his national team's relevant international fixtures in the two years prior to his application, and his national team must have an average ranking in the top 70 of FIFA's world rankings over the preceding two year period. Including the three World Cup matches, Atsu has competed in 14 of 17 relevant fixtures (82%) and Ghana's two-year rankings average (June 2012 - May 2014) is good for 26th overall.
For Vitesse's part, Atsu and his versatility will surely be missed (he can play on either side of the pitch as well as centrally). He was named as the player of the season last year and was one of the few bright spots during the second half of the season. Of course, Chelsea will likely send Vitesse a new crop of replacements, but it will take a special group to make up for the loss of Atsu.