He might have been awarded Player of the Tournament and Goal of the Tournament at 2015 AFCON but surprise to no one, the Liverpool Echo has reported that Christian Atsu hasn’t been awarded a second chance at Everton.
Everton’s interest in the Atsu was potentially the reason the Toffees pushed the boat out and signed Romelu Lukaku permanently because of the Premier League’s rules about loaning more than one player from another EPL club.
After an impressive 2014 World Cup Christian Atsu arrived at Finch Farm with much excitement surrounding him. The Ghanian was acquired to replace another loanee in Gerard Deulofeu and the Spaniard’s successful spell at Goodison only added to the expectation on Atsu.
However the winger was given limited opportunity leading up to the AFCON but in the same instance didn’t impress in the few appearances he made whereas Deulofeu did from the start the previous season.
After lighting the AFCON alight, the 23-year-old came back to Goodison with Evertonians again excited that perhaps the Chelsea man had just not been given enough of a chance. The first game of his return was coming on to show impressive glimpses at home to Leicester City. Following which he was given 5 minutes against Newcastle and a start at Dynamo Kiev and two months later…we haven’t seen him since.
Despite the frustration of this season, Roberto Martinez still believes that Atsu will develop into what he describes as a ‘special footballer’.
"Christian is a very, very talented young man," described Martinez recently to the Echo.
"You always get that uncertainty when you are coming from a foreign league.
"Adapting to the Premier League will always take a period; sometimes more, sometimes less.
"But Christian will become a very special footballer.
"He has all the attributes and showed it in flashes at Porto, when he played consistently at Vitesse, when he was named Player of the Tournament at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana – Christian is very talented.
"For one reason or another, we haven’t been able to give him that continuity that you need. But his attitude is terrific and I hope in the last two games, I hope he can finish the season strong with us because his playing time hasn’t been as big as we expected.
"But I’m sure the experience will benefit him immensely."
The Everton manager also said: "We had the period when he went with Ghana and he came back and I thought the game against Leicester was his most influential period.
"He got a bit of an illness that kept him out. He had a real opportunity, starting in the Europa League against Kiev but it was a bit of an unfortunate game to be involved in."
"But the attitude and the focus of the player are of the highest standard."
The Spaniard did tell the Liverpool-based newspaper though – that loan players will continue to be a key part in the club’s transfer strategy.
"It could do because, in terms of numbers, we know exactly how many players we need," Martinez said.
"The loan market can help you to wrap the whole squad within the means we have and that is always an opportunity to be really strong without relying on the finances.
"The loans we had, the impressive aspect, is that the dressing room allowed them to be themselves, feel important and that connection with the fans has been impressive.
"From Romelu Lukaku, Gareth Barry, with Aaron Lennon of late and Gerard Deulofeu – the figure of a loan player really works at our football club.
"So it is something, at the right time, we need to keep exploring it."