Date: 16th June 2022 at 10:55am
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Transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano has claimed on his Here We Go podcast that Newcastle look to complete a deal for Reims striker Hugo Ekitike.

The 19-year-old has had his breakthrough year at the French club, scoring ten goals in 24 games appearances in Ligue 1.

This return is made all the more staggering by the fact that the France U20 international had only made two appearances for the French club before this season.

The Magpies have been interested in the player for a while and were close to completing a £33m deal in January, but the player rejected the move in order to stay in France.

This time around, according to Romano, a deal is once again close to completion, although it has not been without complications.

“Hugo Ekitike – important, important week, because what happened? They have an agreement – Newcastle and Reims – on the fee. So everything is ready between clubs.

“But on the player’s side, last Monday, they had a meeting ready with this agent, but this meeting didn’t take place. And so what happened? In the coming days, Newcastle were trying and trying again to have direct contacts from Ekitike’s side, but no way.

“Then he had a hamstring injury – the second hamstring injury with France, so panic internally at Newcastle. But then the injury was not so serious, and now they’re back in contact with this agent, and so this week they hope to complete this Hugo Ekitike deal. Top talent, eh? Top, top talent.”

Our thoughts on Romano’s Ekitike claims

Only Kylian Mbappe and Lyon’s Moussa Dembele have scored more non-penalty goals per 90 minutes than the Reims-born teenager in Ligue 1 last season.

The 6 foot 2 striker also contributes off the ball, being in the top 1% of forwards in Europe’s top five leagues for interceptions.

This could be equally as important as his ten goals, which would make him the top scorer on Eddie Howe’s side, as only five sides in the Premier League have conceded more than Newcastle’s 62 goals.

His abilities has made journalist Lee Davey claim that the potential move would be a “signing of the summer”.

“It’s important that people understand that this is his breakout season. He’s 19, this was his first season in Ligue 1, and for him to now go and get this move is huge, and I really think that Newcastle are getting a hell of a player here.

“I really do feel that it could be one of the signings of the summer. I just hope that it works out for him, because he’s a good lad, he’s a good kid, he’s got bags of talent, and I really think he’s going to bring a lot to the Newcastle team.”

There will be doubts about whether the £25.2m-rated youngster will be able to manage such a big move so early in his career, something that played a factor in him rejecting a move in January, and whether he can maintain his form.

However, at 19, time is on his side, and the success of recent Ligue 1 signings Bruno Guimaraes and Allan Saint-Maximin will comfort the St James’ Park faithful. Ekitike could be a wonderful addition for Newcastle.

AND in other news, “Newcastle are looking at…” – Insider claims Howe wants “decisive” £29.7m-rated dynamo at NUFC…

 

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