Celtic-linked Christian Atsu is to be released in the summer, according to the Chronicle.
The newspaper has stated that Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce had to halt interest in the likes of Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the summer due to fringe players’ wages in the North East.
This has led to Newcastle looking to shift the likes of Atsu, Henri Saviet, Rolando Aarons, and Achraf Lazaar before the end of the EFL window deadline on Friday, the Chronicle reports.
And the source has said that all four of their contracts, which expire in the summer, won’t be renewed. That means that Atsu will be a free agent in as little as 12 months.
That may interest Celtic. The Hoops, according to Sports World Ghana, enquired about Atsu’s availability earlier this summer. However, in the end, the player remained at Newcastle beyond the international deadline day last week.
A potential avenue to look at in January
Atsu doesn’t stand out as a player who would walk right into Celtic’s team. He’s only featured on one occasion this season, and was only a regular cameo appearance maker during the first half of last season (Transfermarkt). It’s evident Bruce doesn’t fancy him.
But as a back-up, he could provide some decent enough competition for James Forrest and Jeremie Frimpong. Especially if Celtic could potentially nab him on a real cut-price deal in January or in the summer.
Atsu, a pacey winger who’s played with Rio Ave, Porto, Everton, Malaga, and Vitesse Arnhem to name several, may of course prove difficult to negotiate with. With the money potentially on offer to him in the English Championship, Celtic wouldn’t be short of interested rivals.
There’s also the chance that he leaves before this Friday’s EFL deadline – something Newcastle would undoubtedly prefer. If that happens, there’s nothing Celtic can do given our window of opportunity has passed.
Atsu at a price wouldn’t be a particularly attractive prospect – not given the figures that would be involved. But there’s a real low-risk nature to a pre-contract or January loan deal that could help add another piece of depth down the right.
It’s something for Celtic to keep an eye on, especially with the player seemingly having no hope of an extended contract in the North East. It remains to be seen if the Championship vultures move first, with Watford having already been linked with a move over the last week (Watford Observer).