Chelsea winger Christian Atsu has agreed to move on loan to Malaga for the remaining of 2015-16 season, the clubs have confirmed. Atsu, 24, was expected to move to Levante but the Andalucian outlet have finally beaten their La Liga rivals for his services, after agreeing terms with both the player and the Blues.
A short statement from Chelsea read: "Christian Atsu has today joined Spanish side Malaga on loan until the end of the season.
"The Ghana international, 24, spent the first half of the season on loan with Bournemouth in the Premier League, and will now continue his development in La Liga for the rest of the 2015/16 campaign."
Manager Guus Hiddink confirmed last week his intentions to send Atsu on loan somewhere else before the end of the transfer window to ensure him more playing time. The winger had recently returned to Stamford Bridge after an unsuccessful time at Bournemouth, having previously spent two further loan spells at Vitesse Arnhem and Everton.
"Players who don't have much of an option to play [at Chelsea], they must get the experience of playing weekly. I cannot say much more than this. He is not a young, young player, he is 24 and these guys need to play," the boss said speaking ahead of the derby with Arsenal in his press conference on Friday.
Espanyol, Rayo Vallecano and Levante were reportedly interested in luring him to La Liga for the second half of the season, with Atsu himself suggesting a move to the latter was already agreed.
"I wished the Chelsea players good luck for the game and told them that I was moving to Levante," Atsu told the BBC World Service on weekend "I'm going to Spain. It's a new challenge and I'm going to work hard at it."
"I associate Spanish football with the way I play and I believe that any player should be able to play in any league but right now it's not what suits you and what doesn't suit you, it's where I will get time to play. I spoke with the coach and had a very good chat and if I work hard there, at least, he'll give me a chance."
But Malaga have managed to hijack the Levante deal in a sensational U-turn, having reached an agreement with the Premier League giants.
Javi Gracia's side recently signed winger Chory Castro from Real Sociedad but the Spanish boss wanted to bolster the position further to fill the gap left by the departure of Nordin Amrabat to Watford.