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Newcastle boss Benitez ponders keeping Chelsea winger Atsu

Newcastle winger Christian Atsu is impressing manager Rafa Benitez.

Atsu, on a season-long loan from Chelsea, is hoping to win a permanent move to St James's Park in the summer.

Asked about Atsu's future, Benitez said: “His future is very clear.

“We have plenty of time, so no problem. He is doing well.

“He was doing well before, and after playing a lot of games in the Africa Cup of Nations, he has come back and regained his form little by little.

“That is quite good. We are really pleased with him. Hopefully, he can play well until the end."

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Atsu gives Benitez a different option to Yoan Gouffran, who has regularly been used on the left wing this season.

“When we were watching players for this position in the summer, we were looking for someone like him," said Benitez. “He can pass and run behind defenders and create and score goals. We are happy with him."

Meanwhile, Rolando Aarons will face a charge of violent disorder after an early-hours brawl in a bar.

The 21-year-old winger with the Championship club has been summonsed to court following a disturbance at Livellos nightclub in Newcastle city centre in October, reports the Sunderland Echo.

Northumbria Police said: "At around 3am, officers attended the scene where a large altercation had broken out in the club. Nine people were arrested by police."

The force said at the time that one man was taken to hospital with facial injuries.

Aarons is one of three men - the others are aged 21 and 22 - and two women, aged 23 and 45, summonsed for the offence of violent disorder.

Two men, aged 22 and 23, have been summonsed for the offences of violent disorder and assault.

All seven have been granted bail and will appear before Newcastle Magistrates' Court on April 4.

Aarons, who was born in Jamaica, joined the Magpies in 2012, and is highly-rated, but plagued by injuries.

Rafa Benítez has been nominated for the Sky Bet Championship manager of the month award for February.

Newcastle ended the month at the top of the table after picking up 15 points from seven games.

Also on the four-man shortlist are Huddersfield boss David Wagner, Preston manager Simon Grayson and Fulham head coach Slavisa Jokanovic.

The judging panel comprises former Ipswich manager George Burley, Sky Sports' EFL League pundit Don Goodman, EFL Marketing Director Drew Barrand, League Managers' Association Director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery.

The winner will be announced on Friday.

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