NEWCASTLE UNITED have accepted they will have pay a proportion of Christian Atsu’s wages if they want to move the winger on this week, with Watford and Nottingham Forest still interested in a potential loan deal.

Atsu is one of four Magpies outcasts Steve Bruce is hoping to loan ahead of Friday’s EFL transfer window, with Achraf Lazaar, Henri Saivet and Rolando Aarons also having been told they will not feature in Newcastle’s 25-man Premier League squad.

All four players have entered the final year of their contract, and all four will be released next summer, but together they account for around £100,000-a-week in wage payments, a sum that hampered Bruce’s ability to make loan signings of his own this summer.

While it is hard to imagine any interest in Lazaar and Saivet from clubs in the Championship, both Aarons and Atsu have attracted interest in the last few weeks, with the latter currently regarded as the likeliest player to depart ahead of Friday’s 5pm deadline.

Watford discussed Atsu’s position on a number of occasions ahead of last week’s Premier League transfer deadline, but were unable to agree a financial package that would have been acceptable to the Magpies.

The same is true of Nottingham Forest, who had inquired about Atsu’s position prior to last week’s departure of manager Sabri Lamouchi. His replacement, Chris Hughton, has spent the weekend formulating his own transfer plans, but Atsu is understood to be one of the players still under consideration at the City Ground.

Watford’s position will be influenced by their own outgoings this week, with the futures of Ismaila Sarr, Troy Deeney and Craig Dawson still uncertain, but whatever happens in terms of departures from Vicarage Road, the Hornets will be extremely reluctant to fund the whole of Atsu’s wages for the remainder of the season.

Newcastle officials have accepted they will almost certainly have to take a financial hit in order to trim their squad, but it remains to be seen whether an agreement can be reached.

The Magpies were linked with a £20m move for Brentford’s Said Benrahma over the weekend, but West Ham United are by far the likeliest destination for the forward.