Christian Atsu has delivered the strongest message yet that his long-term future lies away from Chelsea. The 25-year-old is currently on a season-long loan at Championship leaders Newcastle United where he has played 20 matches in all competitions, scoring three goals.
The St James' Park side are the fifth club Atsu has played for on loan since moving to the Blues in 2013. The former Porto youngster has had spells with Vitesse Arnhem, Everton, AFC Bournemouth and Malaga prior to move to the north east.
Atsu has never played for Chelsea in his four years at Stamford Bridge, failing to even feature in a single matchday squad for the current Premier League leaders. And with Eden Hazard, Victor Moses, Marcos Alonso and Willian ahead of him in the pecking order, the winger admits the odds of him breaking his senior duck are long.
"It is difficult for me and Chelsea – you can see the kind of wingers they have," Atsu said, according to the Daily Express. "I have to keep working hard. I spoke with Conte. He is a good manager, very serious in his work. I need to keep fighting for Newcastle and do well here. I will be very happy if Chelsea win the Premier League and Newcastle get promoted."
The comments from Atsu come less than a week after the Ghana international, who helped the Black Stars to a fourth-place finish at the Africa Cup of Nations, hinted that his long-term future could be at Newcastle. Atsu has been regularly involved under Rafael Benitez and is thoroughly enjoying the most fruitful spell of his career.
"We have come so far together," he said according to The Chronicle, prior to the 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday (11 February) which kept the Toon top of the Championship. "We cannot go backwards again here.
"The lads are very serious about this, we have worked so hard throughout the season. It is getting to the end of the season. We have to make sure what we fought for will remain forever. We want to be part of history.
"I will be very happy to be with Newcastle and go up to the Premier League. You can see this is a very young team. Everybody here is playing well. Newcastle are trying to do something important together. With this team we can go really far."