Newcastle United are close to sealing a deal for Reims striker Hugo Ekitike as Eddie Howe aims to bolster his attacking options ahead of next season.
That’s according to Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie, who relayed the transfer update from his colleague Dharmesh Sheth via Twitter.
He outlined: “Personal terms are close to being agreed with Hugo Ekitike ahead of his proposed move to Newcastle, according to @skysports_sheth. If teems can be agreed it’s hoped, he can travel to Tyneside for medical & to complete move next week. Ekitike currently having some time off.”
This news will surely delight the Toon faithful, and it now seems only a matter of time before the signing is formally announced.
Howe has overseen a remarkable turnaround at Newcastle since being appointed last November, leading the team away from the drop zone and into a comfortable 11th-place finish in the Premier League last season.
Further improvement will be needed to satisfy the club’s new owners, though, and with no shortage of money available for transfers, the 44-year-old looks like he is building a squad which can challenge the European place, with the probable signing of Ekitike a particularly impressive coup.
The 19-year-old scored 11 times last season whilst adding a further three assists in a breakthrough campaign which has also attracted interest from the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen.
Compared to positional peers in the big five European leagues, Ekitike ranks in the top 7% for non-penalty goals (0.64 per 90) and in the top 3% for dribbles completed (2.12 per 90), with the latter metric proving that he isn’t afraid of taking players on and showcasing his abilities.
With 2.69 shot-creating actions per match also, the striker appears keen to give himself as many chances as possible to score, showing great maturity at only 19 years of age.
Ekitike might not be the finished product just yet, but his potential could see him become one of the most feared strikers on the continent over the next few seasons. Imagine what a delight it would be for the St James’ Park faithful to see him becoming just that in Newcastle colours.