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Martinez paves way for Atsu's Everton loan

Everton have reached an "agreement in principle" to to sign Chelsea winger Christian Atsu on a season-long loan, manager Roberto Martinez has revealed.

A deal for the 22-year-old Ghana international is still subject to a work permit being received and the completion of other necessary paperwork.

But, if completed, the move would mean a second successive year on loan for Atsu, who moved to Stamford Bridge from Porto for £3.5million last summer, but then headed out to Vitesse Arnhem.

Martinez said: "Everything has been agreed with Christian - it's just a matter of finalising little details more with his work permit and personal situation.

"That will probably take a couple of days to get sorted but we have an agreement in principle to make the move as a loan deal until the end of the season."

Chelsea have not commented on the possibility of a deal.

Everton have already done business with the Londoners this summer, signing striker Romelu Lukaku for a club record £28million following a successful loan last season. The Toffees have also brought in Bosnia midfielder Muhamed Besic from Ferencvaros and signed former Manchester City player Gareth Barry on a permanent deal.

Meanwhile, Martinez is hopeful one of last year's signings, Arouna Kone, will be fit next month.

The Ivory Coast striker, brought in from Martinez's former club Wigan, has been out of action since suffering a knee injury last October.

Martinez said: "Arouna is training well and is still in his own programme, but he has been working with the team as well. We're very positive about Arouna being able to play some sort of competitive 
football in the next four to five weeks."

Everton begin their Premier League campaign away at promoted Leicester on Saturday.

Former England and Leicester great Gordon Banks (76) is not holding out much hope for his old club.

"It is really tough in that league and it is a totally different game," Banks said. "It is a really big step up ... I hope they stay up but I wouldn't put money on it."

Banks, however, said he had been impressed with Leicestergoalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, son of former Denmark andManchester United great Peter.

"I've been to watch him play quite a bit," he added. "I'veliked what I've seen, he looks the part.

"I'm surprised no one has been in and grabbed him,especially the top Premier League teams, but I think it might bea bit too much if they have to rely too much on him."

Schmeichel, who joined Leicester from Leeds in 2011, says heis proud of the honours his father won. Peter landed a string oftrophies with United including the Premier League-ChampionsLeague-FA Cup treble in 1999.

"My dad had a great career and if I could win a 10th of whathe won in football I'd be happy," said the 27-year-old. (Reporting by Tim Collings, editing by Tony Jimenez)