NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 24: Christian Atsu of Newcastle in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Preston North End at St James' Park on April 24, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Very few clubs of late have managed to build a legacy in the top-flight English football coming from the Championship. Most manage to endure one season with England’s best clubs before crumbling down to the second-tier. Hence, there is a mammoth task waiting for Rafael Benitez next season as the Magpies prepare for life in the Premier League yet again.

The squad selection was a piece of cake for him last season, with the board obliging to his every command and Newcastle’s stature, both financial and historical, overshadowing every other Championship club in the transfer market. Things won’t be the same this time, as Newcastle will be approaching players with a newly-promoted stature, which would make convincing them all the more difficult.

While Rafael Benitez, who has won the Champions League and Europa League with Liverpool and Chelsea respectively, would be a good lure for the players, the Magpies won’t have enough transfer funds to go after the best of the lot. Hence, the one thing that the club has to make sure primarily, is to keep the full-proof squad from last season intact. And Newcastle have done just that.

According to reports, Newcastle United have sealed a permanent move for their right-winger Christian Atsu. The Ghanaian international, who has played a crucial role in Newcastle’s title-winning season this season, has signed a four-year deal with the Magpies making himself the first signing of the summer for the club.

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Rafael Benitez knows how important it was to secure his services for the crucial next season. Speaking to the media he said, “We are happy to sign a good player. He’s shown us that he’s a good professional and someone who is very keen to learn and improve. Christian has been a key part of our promotion campaign and he wants to help us to build something for the future.”

Though not a first-team player, Atsu has been a regular for the side on that right flank, and sometimes in the defensive role too. He has played 31 times this season, scoring five goals and three assists. Although he has played a second fiddle to fan-favourite Matt Ritchie, his experience at the top levels would take him to greater heights for sure.

An academy product of FC Porto, Chelsea bought him back in 2011 and he has been on loan since then. He has spent time at Dutch side Vitesse, Everton, Bournemouth and Malaga, before moving to Newcastle United last summer.

He has played in the Champions League as well as Europa League with FC Porto and Everton respectively, and if finishing in the top-half is Newcastle’s primary target, he would be a key addition.

Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.