In Focus: Newcastle can complete £6.5m deal; Benitez must make quick decision

According to reports on ESPN FC, Newcastle United have an option to sign Chelsea loanee Christian Atsu on a permanent £6.5m deal, but they must do so within one week of the Championship season coming to a close.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the Ghana international moved to St James’ Park from the Blues on a season-long loan last summer and it included an option to make the move permanent.

Personal terms are already said to have been agreed between the player and the club and now it is up to Rafa Benitez as to whether he wants to push the move through or not.

How has Atsu done this season?

He has done well when called upon, but he hasn’t been a regular starter under the Spaniard.

Even though he scored his sides’ second goal in their 4-1 win against Preston North End at St James’ Park on Monday night – which saw the Magpies secure an immediate return to the Premier League – the 25-year-old has only started 13 Championship games this term.

In his 30 league appearances in total, the Ghanaian has scored four goals and provided a further three assists.

Do Chelsea want to sell him?

Having spent four successive seasons out on loan, you’d have thought so but the Blues are said to be ready to extend Atsu’s contract which is due to run out next summer.

However, they would understand that the winger may want to have a permanent club where he knows he is going to be a regular, and they won’t stand in his way if he finds one.

What’s the verdict, then?

The jury may still be out on the 25-year-old in Rafa Benitez’s mind.

Having often played second fiddle to Matt Ritchie – who looks set to become a key player for the Magpies in the Premier League – the former Real Madrid and Liverpool boss must decide whether Atsu can be a useful squad player and if he is worth the £6.5m price tag.