Newcastle to replace AFCON-bound Atsu with Tom Cleverley

Sports News of Wednesday, 4 January 2017



Newcastle AtsuMo Diame has moved to replace the Ghanaian speedster with the former Manchester United starlet.

Newcastle have moved to compensate for the absence of Ghana winger Christian Atsu during the 2017 AFCON by tabling a bid for Everton’s Tom Cleverley.

Atsu is expected to miss at least six games in the English Championship if Ghana makes it to the semi-finals finals of the AFCON which starts on January 14 and ends on February 5 in Gabon.

The Chelsea loanee left England for the United Arab Emirates yesterday where he is expected to join his international teammates for a pre-AFCON camp in the city of Al Ain.

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez who will also be without Senegalese midfielder Mo Diame has moved to replace the Ghanaian speedster with the former Manchester United starlet.

Cleverley has moved closer to joining Championship title-chasers Newcastle until the end of the season.

The Sun reported earlier this week how the Magpies had targetted the Everton midfielder for a potential January switch.

And now it is believed Rafa Benitez has submitted an offer to The Toffees for the out-of-favour 27-year-old.

Ex-Manchester United playmaker, Cleverley, was a regular under previous boss Roberto Martinez but he’s completed just two Premier League games under Ronald Koeman this season and doesn’t look like reclaiming his place.

The Toon are top of the table at the start of 2017 with a one-point lead over Brighton who have a game in hand.

But there is a nine-point gap between Rafa Benitez’s side and third-place Reading so automatic promotion is already looking likely.

This has led to Benitez looking at the top-flight for potential January additions. Other names being considered are Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph.