Quotes attributed to Vitesse Arnhem boss Peter Bosz at the weekend suggested Chelsea’s Christian Atsu would not be heading back to the Dutch side next season.
The Ghana winger enjoyed an impressive spell on loan in the Eredivisie but now seems to have a whole host of suitors both in England and further afield.
If Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho opts to see what Atsu can do in the English top-flight, there are plenty of clubs who could benefit. But here are three candidates who for one reason or another could be the most likely destination for the promising player:
Following former loanee Gerard Deulofeu’s return to Barcelona, Roberto Martinez could well be on the lookout for another right-sided player with pace and skill – step forward Atsu.
If Chelsea want to send the Ghanaian to a club where he is going to be given chances and the opportunity to further improve under one of the most exciting young managers in the game, Goodison Park could be the perfect fit.
After all, Romelu Lukaku proved a big hit at Everton last season, and the club have worked the loan market wonderfully well since Martinez took charge.
This may surprise some, but Southampton and Atsu could be brilliant together. Much has been written about the players who have or are tipped to leave St Mary’s this summer, but there will also be a number of new arrivals.
While much is expected of the supremely-gifted James Ward-Prowse, and Steven Davis has played effectively as a right-sided midfielder in recent times, the energy and pace of Atsu could prove invaluable to the Saints.
While they are likely to spend a fair amount of the money entering their coffers this summer, some canny loan buys could also be crucial as their next generation grow into the players they are destined to become.
West Ham United
If Atsu wants to remain in London, the Hammers could be an interesting option, with Sam Allardyce in desperate need of more goal-threat.
Atsu’s flexibility could be vital if he headed to Upton Park, with his ability to play as an attacking midfielder as well as on the opposite flank would lessen the pressure on the likes of Stewart Downing and Kevin Nolan, while also ensuring the Hammers are not caught short in terms of goals scored.
While Atsu could get lost at some clubs, at West Ham he has the potential to be one of their stars of the season.