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 By Mike Whalley

Everton upbeat on Christian Atsu deal

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has said he has renewed hope that a season-long loan deal for Chelsea winger Christian Atsu can be completed quickly.

Martinez has identified Atsu as the man to fill the gap left by Gerard Deulofeu's return to Barcelona after a successful loan stint last season.

Negotiations have not been straightforward, however, with Chelsea reportedly wanting assurances that the 22-year-old Ghana international would get regular first-team football at Goodison Park.

Martinez indicated last week that progress was slow, but now feels Atsu will be a part of his squad in time for Saturday's opening Premier League fixture at newly-promoted Leicester.

In an interview with Melbourne radio station SEN, Martinez said: "Where we are now in terms of the squad, we are very nearly there.

"I say nearly because, while the window is still open, you never look away from possibilities or players who can bring something different to the squad or add extra competition.

"It is going to be a demanding season with European football, but we do feel that, with the signing of Christian Atsu on loan from Chelsea this week, that's going to put us in a very strong position in terms of numbers."

Atsu, who has yet to play a competitive senior match for Chelsea since arriving from Porto in 2013, spent last season on loan at Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem, with whom the Londoners have close links.

He made 28 league appearances for them last season, scoring five goals as they finished sixth in the Dutch Eredivisie.

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