Newcastle star named among world's best for prestigious award
By Russell Edge
Newcastle United winger Christian Atsu has been named among some of the world’s best players as one of the nominees for the African Player of the Year award.
The annual awards, which are decided by votes from head coaches and technical directors of national teams of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as well as a panel of media experts, will take place in January, and have seen 30 players shortlisted for the prestigious honour, as listed on the CAF’s website.
Ghanaian speed machine Atsu, who joined Newcastle on a permanent deal over the summer after an initial loan deal from Chelsea last season, will see him go up against the likes of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, Manchester United’s Eric Bailly and Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who won the award in 2015.
The current holder of the award is Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, but the Algerian playmaker has found himself left off this year’s list, with 23 of the 30 nominees all playing in Europe.
There is also an award for the best African player based on the continent, with four of the candidate’s for that honour also named on the best player worldwide.
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Atsu has established himself as a key member of the Newcastle United squad since his move from the Blues, with 45 appearances under his belt, including outings in all 10 of the club’s league matches this season.
In other Newcastle United news, the club are reportedly just £2.5million away from securing the signing of an international striker.