Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, the journalist has claimed that Villa are one of the sides interested in the young Frenchman, as they look to steal a march on Newcastle United in the race for the striker’s signature.
Reflecting on the Midlands side’s potential summer business, Talbot stated that the 19-year-old could be one player on Steven Gerrard’s radar: “I feel that they need to invest a little bit in sort of the youth, so to speak. Not necessarily completely ready-made, but someone who’s near enough that.
“I think they’ll look at Hugo Ekitike. I’m told that he’s been shown around a few places like PSG, Dortmund, Newcastle, and I’m sure Aston Villa and clubs like that will be looking at him as well.”
The striker had previously come close to a switch to St James’ Park in January, only to spurn the advances of the Magpies, albeit with Eddie Howe and co still seemingly confident of getting the deal over the line in the upcoming window.
That rival interest from the uber-rich, northeast side may come as a concern to NSWE in the battle for the promising starlet, although the Villa Park outfit seemingly still back their own chances of securing his services, having shown their own financial muscle in recent weeks.
As the report alluded to, Gerrard and co have already outfought the Tynesiders to confirm the arrivals of Marseille talent Boubacar Kamara and Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos, with those two acquisitions marking a real statement of intent from the ambitious side.
Having also snapped up Philippe Coutinho on a permanent deal, it is proving a remarkable summer already for the Villans, with supporters set to be further enthused should Ekitike he be added to that list of early business.
As Talbot pointed out, the club are perhaps in need of a sprinkling of young talent in what is a largely experienced squad, with the France U20 international seemingly the type of asset who can be moulded and nurtured, before potentially being sold on for a profit in the coming years.
Such is the youngster’s talent, he has even been dubbed the “next Mbappe” by journalist Graeme Bailey, with Villa set to have a frightening prospect on their hands should they get the deal done, with it an exciting thought as to just how far this emerging star can go.
Although his limited senior experience would suggest it may take time for the 6 foot 2 gem to settle into life in English football, he has already shown glimpses of his explosive promise in the last nine months or so, having netted ten Ligue 1 goals in a remarkable, breakthrough season for his current side.
Not just a goalscorer, however, the £18m-rated marksman also possesses an ability to drive at defenders and drag his side up the pitch, ranking in the top 3% for dribbles completed and the top 16% for progressive carries among forwards across Europe’s top five leagues.
Such dynamism has made him one to watch in France, although he is likely to also gain favour at Villa Park for his encouraging work ethic, as he also ranks in the top 1% for interceptions made and in the top 14% for tackles made.
That statistical record would point to an all-round asset that has the quality to boot, with Villa supporters in for a real treat if he makes the switch in the coming months.
For all the hype around Carlos, Coutinho et al, there is perhaps nothing more exciting than witnessing a star blossom before your eyes, with Ekitike seemingly a top-class talent in the making.