Christian Atsu, who signed for Chelsea from FC Porto in the summer of 2013 for a reported fee of around £3.5 million, has ended his four-year association with the club by signing permanently for Rafa Benitez’s born-again Newcastle United. The transfer fee is rumoured to be in the region of £6 million.
Atsu leaves Chelsea having not donned the shirt even once in a competitive game, completing loan spells at Vitesse, Bournemouth, Everton, Malaga and Newcastle. Atsu hit the ground running at Vitesse and did extremely well but failed to follow up his good showing at either of his Premier League loan spells. Following a lukewarm stint at Malaga in Spain, Atsu was sought after by promotion-seeking Newcastle, where he wasn’t always a regular starter but was a valuable addition to their squad. Atsu had 5 goals and 3 assists to his name in the Championship, but his pace and trickery down the flanks has proved to be an asset against tiring defences. It’s evident from his 15 starts out of 32 league appearances that he was often used as an impact substitute and a reliable rotation option and to the 25-year-old’s credit, he has displayed great consistency and has chipped in with important contributions.
Atsu faced competition on the wings from the likes of Yoann Gouffran and Matt Ritchie, with other options such as the promising Rolando Aarons out for most of the season with injury and Sammy Ameobi more of depth than anything. With Gouffran likely to leave as a free agent as well, it’s understandable that Newcastle would like to keep Atsu in their squad as they reach to regain their Premier League status.
Like fellow long-term Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford, Atsu has also proved to fulfil one of the primary aims of the club’s extensive loanee system: to turn a profit on players who don’t make it at the club. Atsu now gets another shot at playing in the English top flight as well, but for the first time at a club where he’s not just on loan. Here’s wishing him good luck and a successful career ahead!