Newcastle United has triggered the purchase option in Christian Atsu’s loan and have agreed to personal terms with Atsu, according to multiple reports. The fee is understood to be £6.2 million and will commit Atsu to a four-year contract with Newcastle.
The Ghanaian winger spent the 2016/17 season on loan from Chelsea, scoring five times in 32 league appearances, including 15 starts. Atsu also contributed three assists on the year.
Triggering the option to buy Atsu will go a long way toward solidifying depth at both wing positions and strengthen the overall quality of the left side, where Atsu proved to be at least on even footing with Yoan Gouffran despite playing away from his preferred right side. Atsu was named to the starting XI in each of Newcastle’s last four matches, providing two goals and one assist over the span and having particularly quality showings in the last three.
Atsu, who turned 25 in January, has proven to be an effective passer on the wing, contributing the fourth-most key passes on the team per game in games in which he started. Additionally, the pacey winger has proven fearless in taking on opponents, attempting more dribbles per start than any other player and completing more than anyone not named Ayoze Pérez. These abilities in open space are crucial to any successful counterattacking team, a style that Newcastle will be forced into on a number of occasions as they return to the Premier League.
Regardless of whether he will continue his role as a super sub or will work his way into a starting role, a fee of only £6.2 million (or 1 Emmanuel Rivière, to put it another way) will prove good value in today’s transfer market. Atsu, who will become the first signing of the summer once official, is the sort of low-risk, high-reward signing that Newcastle will need to make to ensure Premier League success.