Chelsea winger Christian Atsu is set to become Rafael Benitez's first signing after guiding Newcastle United back to the Premier League at the first time of asking after having been relegated last season.
The Ghana international has agreed personal terms after the Tyneside club activated the clause to convert his season-long loan into a permanent switch. Newcastle will pay Chelsea £6.2m ($8m) to sign the winger, who is expected to put pen to paper on a four-year deal.
Atsu made 35 appearances for the Magpies and scored five goals to help them win the Championship title and move back to the English top-flight. According to the Guardian, the two clubs have reached an agreement for the transfer but it is not expected to be announced immediately as there is still a long way to go before the move can be completed.
The Ghanian winger joined Chelsea from Porto in 2013 and has not made a single appearance for the Blues thus far. He has previously spent time on loan with Dutch club Vitesse, Premier League outfits Everton and Bournemouth and La Liga side Malaga. Atsu will become the newly crowned Premier League champions' first summer exit and Newcastle's first summer signing.
The Magpies owner Mike Ashley has promised to back Benitez in his efforts to strengthen the team ahead of their return to top-flight insisting that the Spanish coach can have 'every last penny' the club generates through promotion, player sales and other means in order to build for next season.
Benitez committed his future to the club after positive talks with Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley and revealed that the work to build a stronger squad had already begun. Atsu is likely to be the first major signing in the club's quest to reestablish themselves in the Premier League next season.
"I'm pleased with how the meeting went and the positive approach we are all taking together to build on what we have started this season," Benitez said via a club statement.
"There will be challenges ahead of course, the summer will not be easy, but the hard work has been going on for some time and we can now continue positively with the development of the squad ahead of the start of the new season. I wish fans an enjoyable summer!"