Nottingham Forest and Watford are working to sign Newcastle United forgotten man Christian Atsu by 16 October, Football Insider has learned.

The Championship big guns are both keen to take advantage of the Ghana international’s St James’ Park freeze-out.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Watford and Forest are hoping to lure Atsu to the Championship in the next two weeks as they look to build side’s capable of challenging for promotion to the Premier League this season.

They have been in contact over a deal for the 28-year-old as the race for his signature hots up.

The window for domestic deals between Premier League and EFL clubs only is open until 16 October.

This is being seized upon by second-tier clubs as a great opportunity to land proven players who have dropped down the pecking order at elite teams.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

Atsu has made only one brief cameo appearance in the League Cup this season and has not made the squad for any of Newcastle’s Premier League games.

He is in the final year of his contract at the Magpies and he does not figure in Steve Bruce’s long-term plans.

Newcastle are willing to loan him out for the season and get his salary, or at least a significant portion of it, off their wage bill.

Atsu joined Newcastle from Chelsea in 2017 and has made 121 appearances for the north-east giants, scoring eight goals and supplying 10 assists.

In other news, it can be revealed how close Newcastle United 27-year-old came to join Premier League rivals on deadline day.