Eddie Howe issues Christian Atsu message amid rescue efforts after earthquake in Turkey and Syria
Atsu has been missing since an earthquake in Turkey and Syria in the early hours of Monday which has already claimed more than 21,000 lives.
There had been reports that the 31-year-old had been found, but these were subsequently dismissed by Hatayspor, his club.
And Howe – who took Atsu on loan at Bournemouth in the 2015/16 season – has spoken about his concern for the former Ghana international, who had scored for Hatayspor on Sunday night.
United's head coach said: “It’s hugely worrying. I really, really enjoyed working with Christian, a great lad, great player. Our thoughts are with him and his family. We hope for some good news, we hope he’s OK, but we’re really concerned for him and his welfare this week.
“Its been difficult, because there have been conflicting stories coming out about his whereabouts, so it’s been very tough. I can’t imagine how his family are feeling. But, from the bottom of our hearts, we wish him well – and hope there’s a positive ending.”
Atsu’s agent issued an update on the search two days ago.
"We are doing everything we can to locate Christian," said Nana Sechere. "As you can imagine, this continues to be a devastating time for his family."
Atsu went on to spend five years at St James’s Park after joining the club on loan from Chelsea in the summer of 2016 when Rafa Benitez was manager.
Meanwhile, a teenager has been pulled largely unscathed from beneath the rubble of a collapsed building in the Turkish city of Gaziantep – but the chances of finding many more survivors four days after a catastrophic earthquake killed tens of thousands are shrinking fast.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the border region between Turkey and Syria, an area with a population of 13.5 million.
Bodies lay wrapped in blankets, rugs and tarpaulins in the streets of some cities, with morgues and cemeteries overwhelmed.
Before dawn in Gaziantep, near the epicentre of the quake, rescuers pulled Adnan Muhammed Korkut from the basement where had been trapped since the tremor struck on Monday.