Christian Atsu set to sign for Newcastle as Rafa Benitez turns attention to out-of-contract players

Christian Atsu.
Christian Atsu.

Christian Atsu is set to become Rafa Benitez’s first summer signing at Newcastle United.

Atsu spent the season on loan at St James’s Park from Premier League champions Chelsea.

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

Christian Atsu

And the promoted club has triggered a £6.2million buy option in his loan over the weekend.

Newcastle are in talks with the winger and the proposed deal could be completed within the next 24 hours.

Atsu is keen to sign for United, having enjoyed his year at the club.

The 25-year-old made 32 Championship appearances – and scored five goals – for Newcastle.

Atsu spoke about his future after starring in the club’s title-securing 3-0 win over Barnsley earlier this month.

“I’ve not heard from Newcastle,” said Atsu. “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.”

United moved to trigger their option on Atsu before it expired on Sunday night.

And Newcastle and Atsu – who has had a series of loan spells since joining Chelsea in the summer of 2013 – are understood to be close to an agreement.

Atsu is looking to “settle” at a club after a nomadic few years.

Speaking late last year, Atsu said: “For me, I always want to settle.

“Every year I keep moving on loan to different clubs. It is not easy, and I’m looking to settle.”

The Gazette reported last week that United were looking get the bulk of their business done early this summer.

And United manager Benitez saw enough from Atsu to convince him that the Ghana international will be a useful squad player in the Premier League next season.

Benitez must now address the futures of out-of-contract pair Vurnon Anita and Yoan Gouffran.