Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce had admitted that he wants to offload Celtic-linked Christian Atsu in January.
Sports World Ghana reported over the summer that the Hoops had enquired about Atsu’s availability. However, the transfer window ended up closing with the Ghanaian winger still a Newcastle player.
Since then, Celtic have been pretty exposed down the right flank. With Hatem Elhamed picking up Covid and James Forrest out for the long-term, the Hoops only have Jeremie Frimpong to rely on down the right side at the moment.
It seems like a position the Hoops are therefore bound to strengthen in January, and Bruce has effectively opened the door for Celtic to come in for Atsu after he failed to make their 25-man Premier League squad.
Speaking on Newcastle’s official website, Bruce said: “Selecting the squad is always difficult because you know you have to leave people out. With all the players, they’re professionals and they want to play week in, week out.
“With the players we’ve brought in, it makes it even tougher but it’s a decision you have to make. Those who aren’t involved will continue to train and keep themselves right and once we hit December and January, we hope we can get them fixed up with clubs.”
Celtic need an alternative to Frimpong
Atsu won’t be everyone’s number one choice when it comes to bolstering the right flank, but Celtic certainly need an option of some sort.
Considering how greatly Neil Lennon was backed with his summer signings, it looks almost certain that any January deals will be cut-price ones. It’s difficult to see the club splashing out on another right winger when we have three players who can feature there as wing-backs.
Bringing a player like Atsu to Glasgow wouldn’t be a bad move. It’s important to remember that this is a player with experience in England, Spain, and Holland to name a few. He also has 60 international caps with Ghana despite only being 28 years of age (Transfermarkt). That’s mightily impressive.
Dependent on what Newcastle are looking for to bring him to Glasgow permanently, this reads like a shrewd option. His lack of match-sharpness may be a problem, but that hasn’t stopped Lennon from signing his targets in the past.
Atsu not making Newcastle’s 25-man Premier League squad when he’s into the final year of his contract is telling. There’s no way back for him in the North East.
We’ll see what January brings, but this is still a position that needs bolstering.