By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
Christian Atsu declared in a BBC interview he had joined Levante – before Chelsea revealed hours later he had moved to Malaga.
The Ghana international had flown to Spain for talks with both Spanish clubs, as well as Rayo Vallecano, after being given permission by the Premier League club to negotiate a loan move to La Liga.
Bottom club Levante appeared to have won the race to sign Atsu for the rest of the season after reaching an agreement with the winger.
Atsu told the BBC Sportsworld programme that he had said his goodbyes to his Chelsea team-mates at the weekend and revealed his destination.
“I wished Chelsea good luck for their game [against Arsenal] and told the players I was going to Levante and Spain,” Atsu told BBC Sportsworld . “It’s where I will get time to play.”
Hours later, Atsu took to social media site Twitter to announce he had agreed the terms of a transfer to 12th-placed Malaga until the end of the season.
— Christian Atsu (@ChristianAtsu20) January 25, 2016
The 24-year-old winger spent the first half of the season on loan at Bournemouth but the deal was cut short by Chelsea after he made just two appearances – both in the League Cup – for Eddie Howe’s side.
Chelsea are keen for Atsu to play regular first-team football after some frustrating loan spells in the Premier League.
Atsu joined the west London club from Porto in the summer of 2013 for £3.5million and was immediately loaned out for the season to Vitesse Arnhem, where he scored five goals and supplied six assists in 30 matches.
Subsequent loan spells at Everton and Bournemouth have proved less successful and Atsu has decided to move to Spain to develop his career.