By Vincent Ralph
While the likes of Willian and Nemanja Matic thrive in their new surroundings, one recent Chelsea signing was almost instantly sent on loan to Vitesse Arnhem.
The Dutch club is proving to be an excellent second home for the Blues’ youngsters, with the likes of Lucas Piazon, Patrick van Aanholt and Bertrand Traore all currently plying their trade there and – in the case of the former two – excelling.
But while plenty has been written about Piazon and van Aanholt, what of Christian Atsu, the attacking midfielder who arrived at Stamford Bridge from FC Porto for £3.5million and was immediately on his way again, continuing his footballing education in the Eredivisie?
Atsu’s story has vague similarities to another recent Chelsea acquisition, Mohamed Salah.
In both cases Liverpool were reportedly interested (although with Atsu both Tottenham Hotspur and Everton were also said to be keen) and on both occasions the player ended up signing for Jose Mourinho’s side.
However, while Salah is set to stake his claim for a first-team spot in London, Atsu will be in Holland until the summer, at which point a decision on his next steps will be made.
While Piazon has become Vitesse’s most valuable player – scoring 11 goals and providing eight assists in just 20 appearances – Atsu has still had his moments.
The Ghanaian has scored two goals and provided three assists in 14 matches, and he has started all but one of those (his debut, when he still managed to set up a goal despite only featuring for 13 minutes).
Atsu’s pass-completion percentage is currently 86.8% – higher than both Piazon and van Aanholt – while he averages 1.7 key passes and 1.4 dribbles per game.
In short, his loan spell is going very well indeed.
The only question is whether Mourinho can find a place for him in the Chelsea squad next season.
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