Benitez delivers emphatic verdict on Newcastle United player's future at the club

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Newcastle United are expected to be busy during this month's transfer window.

Speaking to reporters during his pre-match press conference, Magpies boss Rafa Benitez responded to speculation linking Christian Atsu with a move to Turkey, claiming that nothing has changed in regards to their option to sign the player at the end of the season, as quoted by the Sunderland Echo.

Turkish media outlet Fanatik reported earlier this week that Super Lig outfit Basaksehir wanted to sign the Ghanaian this month, but Benitez has swiftly put talk of a move to bed, suggesting that Atsu is extremely happy on Tyneside, as quoted by the Sunderland Echo:

Newcastle manager Rafael BenitezNewcastle manager Rafa Benitez

"I am in contact with the three players in Africa, and especially Atsu, I will tell you now that he is really pleased and really happy here. We have the player on loan with an option. Nothing has changed. The player is happy. We have the control and a very good relationship with Chelsea, so everything is fine.”

Newcastle could be without Atsu for up to a month, due to his participation in the African Cup of Nations.

Newcastle United's Christian Atsu (L) in action with Burton Albion's Damien McCroryNewcastle United's Christian Atsu in action 

His departure for the tournament could not have come at a worse time, for both the player and club, as he had just started to prove his true worth over the past month or so.

And Benitez will be hoping that Atsu returns to the club in the form he was in when he departed for AFCON duty, as he looks to guide his side back to the top of the Championship table.

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