Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez is likely to call upon winger Christian Atsu to replace the injured Miguel Almiron, according to The Chronicle.
The newspaper claims that the Ghanian international is likely to start against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday after club record signing Almiron went down with a hamstring injury against Southampton last time out.
The former Atlanta United man is expected to miss the final few games of the season, leaving Atsu as the most obvious candidate to replace him in the starting line up due to Benitez’s preferred system.
The 27-year-old has produced some decent cameos off the bench in recent weeks and so he deserves his chance to fill the Paraguayan’s shoes.
Atsu is certainly the most obvious replacement for Almiron. The former Chelsea man was the player occupying the 25-year-old’s spot in the side prior to his arrival and so it makes sense for him to slot back in now that Almiron has suffered this setback. To be fair to Atsu, his attitude has been impeccable and he’s appeared determined to make an impact whenever he’s been given game time off the bench. He’s not as dynamic as Almiron, but he works extremely hard and is actually in fairly good form all things considered. He won’t embarrass anyone if he’s called upon against the Seagulls, that’s for sure. Picking him would also allow Benitez to continue with the same formation he has been utilising for the past several months. That wouldn’t be the case were he to draft in Yoshinori Muto, for example. Therefore it seems highly likely – and the correct choice, at that – that Atsu will take Almiron’s place on Saturday.