Newcastle Calm Over Atsu’s Future At St James’ Park

Newcastle United are in no hurry to tie down on-loan winger Christian Atsu to a permanent contract, manager Rafael Benitez has said.

The attacker, who recently represented Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, has been in impressive form for the Magpies since joining from Chelsea last summer.

He currently has 22 league appearances to his name, finding the back of the net on three occasions.

“We have plenty of time, so no problem,” Benitez said on negotiations for a possible contract extension.

“Atsu is doing well. He was doing well before, and after playing a lot of games in the Africa Cup of Nations, he has come back and regained his form little by little.

“That is quite good. We are really pleased with him. Hopefully, he can play well until the end.

“He’s professional and he knows. He knows I have confidence in him.”

Atsu has earned starting places in Newcastle’s last three matches.

“He’s playing good football because he’s a good player and everybody is supporting him,” Benitez added.

“When we were watching players for this position in the summer, we were looking for someone like him.

“He can pass and run behind defenders and create and score goals. We are happy with him.”

Atsu was signed by Chelsea from Portuguese outfit Porto in 2013, but limited first-team opportunities at Stamford Bridge forced the 25-year-old to spend each of the past three seasons elsewhere.

He has had loan stints at Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, Everton, Bournemouth and Spanish club Malaga.

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