Newcastle United winger Christian Atsu is no longer the name on the streets in Ghana following recent inability to find a regular football at club level.
The 24-year-old winger was famously described as the Ghanaian Messi by Sulley Muntari following an impressive season with Portuguese giants, Porto, in 2012. Fast forward to 2016 and Atsu has failed to record 40 league games in four years since playing his way to a big money move to English giants Chelsea. An initial loan spell to Vitesse in 2013 proved a huge success bearing fruits of 28 league games and five goals to the delight of every Ghanaian who was keenly anticipating a breakthrough season with Chelsea.
Hope it was and hope it remained as then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was not so impressed and wanted to monitor him at close hand. Everton under Spanish tactician Roberto Martinez was to follow but despite some signs of growing that loan spell proved a spectacular failure. He managed only five league appearance in what was his most disappointing season in Europe. His performance or lack of opportunities at the struggling Everton was a puzzle to many who saw him sparkle for Ghana game after game in the Africa Cup of Nations where he eventually became the best player of the competition. Feeling down and with a point to prove Atsu’s next destination was the South Coast of England with Bournemouth and highly rated English manager Eddie Howie was his manager.
Hopes were high again, maybe desperately, because it was an opportunity to prove he had what took to cut it in the English Premier League. But the experienced proved to be a nightmare. If Everton was a spectacular failure then Bournemouth proved a gory scene. He failed to kick a ball in the league in what was a combination of bad timing and injury plagued campaign for the then darling boy of Ghana Football.
After just six months it was over, Atsu was sure he was no long interested and he asked for a move away from the club. Malaga was next in the series of loan moves and that episode started very well with a good goal on his debut but the unwanted would strike again with injury slowing him down despite showing promise anytime he came on the pitch.
He managed 12 league games and scored twice in his six months loan spell in Spain, the general consensus was that he would stay in Spain but no he returned to Chelsea with the hopes of getting the opportunity stake a claim in the Chelsea team but after few trials under Antonio Conte the Italian tactician decided he was not good enough and moved him on to Newcastle United. He has since played two games out of a possible five but the more damning verdict is that Atsu has lost his sparkle and is no more the first name on the lips on Ghanaian players when it comes to top Ghanaian players in Europe.
There is however a window of opportunity at St. James’s park and a big season under Rafael Betinez will go a long way in banishing the three years of huge disappointments.