The form and contribution of Ghana winger Christian Atsu to English Premier League side Newcastle United has been carefully examined as the year draws to a close.
The calendar year 2017 began with Atsu featuring for the Ghana squad which finished fourth at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. The Black Stars finished second in their group behind Egypt, before defeating DR Congo 2-1 in the quarterfinals and losing to Cameroon and Burkina Faso in the semis and third-place playoff respectively.
Atsu then returned to Newcastle United, where he was on loan from Chelsea, and proceeded to play a strong role in the club’s promotion to the Premier League under manager Rafa Benitez.
The Spanish tactician was so impressed with the Ghana winger’s ability that he signed Atsu permanently from the Blues in May 2017 on a four-year deal.
The 25-year-old has taken well to Premier League football with the Magpies, though the club’s recent slide in form has put them under threat of fighting a relegation battle for the rest of the season, and they will need Atsu’s pace and skill in attack for the remainder of the campaign.
But it hasn’t been all positive for Atsu through the year, with the player having recently spent time on the sidelines with a thigh injury, while Ghana’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup will have also been a bitter pill to swallow.
In 2018, Atsu will hope he can figure strongly for Newcastle and help them avoid relegation from England’s top flight, while on the international front he will aim to see Ghana qualify for the 2019 AFCON finals.