Rafa Benitez in no hurry to do deal for Newcastle loanee Christian Atsu
Newcastle United will not make a decision on Christian Atsu until the end of the season.
Atsu, away with his Ghana team-mates ahead of the African Cup of Nations, is on a season-long loan from Chelsea.
But Rafa Benitez is not minded to do a deal for the winger in this month’s transfer window.
And Benitez will instead evaluate Atsu over the second half of the campaign when he returns from Gabon, where the Cup of Nations is being staged.
Atsu has had a series of loans since joining Chelsea from Porto.
The 24-year-old feels he’s ready to settle at a club after five spells away from Stamford Bridge.
Speaking last month, Atsu said: “Every year I keep moving on loan to different clubs. It is not easy, and I’m looking to settle. For me, I need to keep working hard.”
Atsu – who has scored three goals for Newcastle – has shown glimpses of his talent in his 19 appearances so far this season.
Benitez can only wait for Atsu and the club’s other two AFCON-bound players – Mohamed Diame and Chancel Mbemba – to return to England.
Atsu, having been a regular for United, feels he can make a significant contribution for Ghana.
“I am playing a lot and keeping my fitness level up,” he said. “I keep getting better. I feel good. I feel proud to play for Newcastle and my national team.”
Atsu is the first Ghanaian to play for Newcastle, and he says football fans in his homeland are taking notice of the Championship club.
“A lot of Ghanaians are supporting Newcastle and monitoring my movement each and every game,” said Atsu.
“I’m very happy that they are supporting Newcastle. We have a lot of fans all over the world.”
Meanwhile, Lee Clark’s admitted he faces a lot of competition for Freddie Woodman, Callum Roberts and Sean Longstaff.
Kilmarnock manager Clark is keen to take the United trio on loan in this month’s transfer window. “There is interest from our side,” said ex-Uninted midfielder Clark. “We are looking at these players, but there are five or six clubs both north and south of the border looking at them too. We haven’t got anything in terms of a deal in place yet.”