Eddie Howe concerned over Christian Atsu with star missing in Turkey

Turkey: Brit emotional as he discusses aftermath of earthquake

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Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has insisted that he is desperately hoping for good news regarding the welfare of former Magpies winger Christian Atsu, who is still missing in Turkey after the devastating earthquakes in the region earlier this week. Around 20,000 people are believed to have been killed in Turkey and Syria as a result of the quakes, which struck in the early hours of Monday morning and have caused serious damage to life and property in both countries.

Atsu is yet to be accounted for in spite of media speculation to the contrary over the last few days, with his agent, Nana Sechere, having revealed that the 31-year-old has still not been found by search and rescue teams. Howe was asked about Atsu in Friday’s press conference and insisted in no uncertain terms that he is deeply concerned for the Ghana international’s wellbeing alongside everybody at Newcastle.

“It’s hugely worrying,” said Howe. “I really, really enjoyed working with Christian, he’s a great lad and a great player. Our thoughts are with him and his family.
“We hope for good news. We’re really concerned for his welfare. It’s been difficult because there have been conflicting stories about his whereabouts. I can’t imagine how his family is feeling. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish him well and hope for a positive ending.”

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Atsu, who has 65 caps for Ghana, spent the majority of his club career in England after joining Chelsea in the summer of 2013. He struggled to break into the first-team setup at Stamford Bridge and was loaned to a number of sides including Everton, Bournemouth and Newcastle before signing for the Magpies on a permanent basis in 2017.

He went on to make over a century of appearances for Newcastle during a four-year period before joining Saudi outfit Al-Raed, where he spent another year prior to signing for Hatayspor on a free transfer. Atsu has since played four games for his new club and scored his first goal on Sunday night to help them to a dramatic late victory over Kasimpasa, just hours before the first 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey on Monday.

Ghana’s ambassador to Turkey, Francisca Ashitey-Odunton, said with sadness on Thursday that every Ghanaian national in the country had been reached out to after the quakes with the sole exception of Atsu.

“I’m glad and thankful to let you know that, apart from Christian Atsu, all Ghanaians have been accounted for,” she told reporters. “We don’t have many people in the area and most of them were students. Our hope and intention is to evacuate them to Ankara and Turkey because as of now they are at a makeshift structure.”

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