Rafael Benitez in no hurry to make Atsu deal permanent

Newcastle United are set to wait until the end of the season before making a decision on whether to sign Christian Atsu on a permanent deal.

The Ghanaian, who is currently away with his national team ahead of African Cup of Nations, has become a crowd favourite during his time at St James’ Park.

Manager Rafa Benitez will opt against making the pacey winger’s move permanent in January and instead evaluate him over the second half of the campaign.

Frustrating few years

The 24-year-old has also had loan spells at Vitesse, Everton, Bournemouth and Malaga respectively since joining Chelsea from Porto in 2013.

Last month a frustrated Atsu revealed: “Every year I keep moving on loan to different clubs. It is not easy, and I’m looking to settle. For me, I need to keep working hard.”

"I feel like I have a family in Newcastle now"

In December, Atsu told ITV : "I'm feeling like home [at Newcastle] because of the people around me. The fans, the coaches, the players, everyone is nice."

The winger has made 19 appearances for United this season, scoring three goals, “I am playing a lot and keeping my fitness levels up, I keep getting better, I feel good.”

Atsu also spoke about how he was “proud” to play for Newcastle United and how his natives in Ghana are looking out for The Magpies.

“A lot of Ghanaians are supporting Newcastle and monitoring my movement each and every game,” he revealed. “We have a lot of fans all over the world.”

Atsu’s Ghana will be hoping to get their tournament off to a good start when they face Uganda in their first game of the African Cup of Nations on January 17. The Black Stars will then face Mali on January 21 before their final group game against Egypt four days later.