By support

16th May, 2017 | 9:37am

Reliable journalist: Benitez sanctions Newcastle move for PL attacker

By Will Butcher

Rafa Benitez has sanctioned a permanent Newcastle move for Chelsea attacker Christian Atsu, according to a reliable journalist.

Evening Chronicle reporter Lee Ryder claimed on his personal Twitter account that Benitez had been in Newcastle in the past 24 hours, and has made his move for the 25-year-old.

This comes after it was revealed that the Magpies were in talks over completing a permanent £6.2million deal for the Ghana international, after an eye-catching season-long loan deal.

Sky Sports correspondent Keith Downie revealed on his personal Twitter account on Monday that the Toon were at the negotiating table with Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.

Ghana international Atsu has been in good form for the Toon since confirming a temporary move to St. James’ Park ahead of the 2016-17 campaign.

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Making 35 appearances in all competitions for Benitez’s side, Atsu scored five goals with two of those strikes coming in his last three Newcastle appearances against Preston and Cardiff.

However, he is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge under manager Antonio Conte, with the likes of Willian, Pedro and Eden Hazard way above him in the attacking pecking order.

Atsu has failed to make a senior appearance for the west London giants since his move from Porto back in 2013, instead moving on loan to the likes of Everton, Bournemouth and Malaga.

But with only 12 months to run on his Stamford Bridge contract, Benitez looks set to strike a deal that will see Atsu become Newcastle’s first signing in what promises to be a busy summer.

Football Insider verdict:

If Benitez is to avoid an instant return to the Championship after going up as champions of England’s second tier, then he must look to keep the core of his squad the same. That means signing Atsu is of vital importance to the Toon’s fight to avoid a relegation dog fight next season. Atsu’s speed, creativity and ability from dead-ball situations shows that he can create and score goals from out of nothing, and this could save the Toon next term as they’re likely to have less chances in front of goal. However, a move for Atsu is likely to spell the end of Yoann Gouffran’s future on Tyneside, with only six weeks left on his current contract.

In other Newcastle transfer news, the Toon are plotting an £8.5million raid for this Serie A goalkeeper but face Premier League competition.

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