Christian Atsu responds to questions on his Newcastle future

Christian Atsu.
Christian Atsu.

Christian Atsu’s waiting to discover if he’s done enough to earn a permanent move to Newcastle United.

The winger, on a season-long loan from Chelsea, helped the club win the Championship.

I owe them thanks. They have given me an opportunity – it’s a big club. Whatever happens in the future, I thank the fans, Rafa and everyone at the club.

Christian Atsu

But Atsu does not yet know if Rafa Benitez will move to keep him at St James’s Park.

The 25-year-old was superb in Sunday’s 3-0 home win over Barnsley.

Atsu underlined his potential with a strong performance in the title-securing victory.

The Ghana international – who has had a series of loan spells since joining Chelsea in 2013 – is looking to ‘settle’ at a club.

But Atsu does not yet know if he figures in Benitez’s plans for next season.

Asked about his future, Atsu said: “No conversations – I’ve not heard from Newcastle.”

Whatever happens this summer, Atsu will forever be grateful to Benitez for giving him an opportunity at United.

Atsu went on: “What I will say, though, is that I owe them thanks.

“They have given me an opportunity – it’s a big club.

“Whatever happens in the future, I thank the fans, Rafa and everyone at the club.

“I cannot say what will happen with me. I cannot predict football.

“I will go back to Chelsea first, then we see.”

Benitez was asked about Atsu’s future after he scored in Newcastle’s penultimate game against Cardiff City.

The stunning free-kick at took his goal tally for the season to five.

And Benitez spoke warmly about Atsu after the club’s 2-0 win at the Cardiff City Stadium.

“The future of a player doesn’t change with one action or goal,” said Benitez, who met owner Mike Ashley for talks on Tuesday night.

“We know that he’s a good player. We have to decide. I’m really pleased with him.

“We have to see where we are in terms of the squad and all these things.”

Newcastle have an option to buy Atsu, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Malaga.

He had previously had frustrating loan spells at Bournemouth and Everton.

Atsu made 15 league starts for United.

Newcastle finished a point ahead of Brighton and Hove Albion, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Aston Villa on the final day of the season.

Chris Hughton’s side had led the division by seven points, but they took just one point from their last three fixtures.

United won their final three matches to claim the Championship title.

“We fought to the end,” said Atsu.

“We are champions. In football, you just never know. You have to keep fighting and keep believing.

“I don’t think you can predict football. We have shown that.

“At the end, we got what we always wanted.

“We never doubted it would come.”

Brighton had been expected to wrap up the league by beating struggling Bristol City at the Amex Stadium late last month.

“When they were beaten by Bristol City, we knew it would be very difficult for them,” said Atsu.

“I watched that game – I was focused on it. I was hoping for even a draw.

“When they lost, I knew all we had to do was win our games.”

United, meanwhile, were written off by some pundits after losing their first two games against Fulham and Huddersfield Town.

“For us, we do not have to prove anyone wrong,” added Atsu.

“All we have to do is make our fans happy.”

Atsu – who started his career at Porto – will treasure his Championship medal.

“I have the Portuguese league and cup and a FIFA tournament, so I can add this to the collection,” he said.

“I think this is a very important medal.