Newcastle United are believed to be edging closer towards the signing of Stade de Reims striker, Hugo Ekitike, having previously missed out on the player in January.
As per journalist Craig Hope, the 19-year-old is believed to be keen on making the move to St James’ Park this summer, albeit with the northeast side now needing to come to an agreement with the Ligue 1 outfit.
Writing on Twitter about the developing situation, the trusted insider revealed that the deal appears to be heading in the right direction: “Understand Newcastle are currently in discussions over a deal for Reims striker Hugo Ekitike. The 19-yr-old wants to join the club & there is hope of progress. Package is €30m+.”
This aligns with a report from transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, who stated that the teenager had “agreed a five-year deal” with the Magpies, leaving just “final details” to be discussed with his current side.
The young Frenchman had previously rejected the move in the winter after a £33m deal had been agreed, although appears to have had a change of heart.
Persistence has seemingly paid off for Eddie Howe and co, with the Premier League side having not given up hope despite that rejection in January, ensuring they are now set to secure the services of one the hottest prospects in Europe and a player who has been dubbed the “next Mbappe”, as per journalist Graeme Bailey.
In a breakthrough campaign in his native France, the £25.2m-rated gem bagged an impressive ten goals and provided three assists in the league in total, despite missing a fair chunk of the second half of the season with a hamstring injury.
Although he is a relative newcomer to senior football – having only spent a brief loan stint at Danish side Vejle BK prior to the most recent campaign – the indication is that he is a talent destined for the elite level, while he already compares favourably to those in his position across Europe’s big five leagues, ranking in the top 16% for progressive carries, as well as the top 3% for dribbles completed.
Those statistics would illustrate that he is so much more than simply just a goalscorer. His speed and ability to beat a man make him a comfortable fit on either flank, opening up the possibility that the Tynesiders could still move for another striker this summer.
Such excitement over potential incomings is a far cry from the dismal story of last year, when then-boss Steve Bruce was afforded little investment from the much-maligned former owner, Mike Ashley, eventually only bringing in Arsenal’s Joe Willock on a permanent deal, having already had the midfielder on loan the previous season.
With fresh faces now in the dugout and at boardroom level, there is a great deal of optimism that the club can finally threaten at the top half of the table, having so long languished in and around the relegation zone.
As for Ekitike, the promising starlet could well prove to be just the first piece of business in a seismic summer for Newcastle. Supporters are in for a real treat.