The latest indication is that Newcastle United are still hoping to secure a deal for Stade de Reims striker Hugo Ekitike, having previously missed out on the 19-year-old during the January transfer window.
The teenager revealed at the time that he had turned down an offer of a switch to St James’ Park as the “timing wasn’t right” during the winter, although the move could be on the cards again in the upcoming window, with a departure from the Ligue 1 outfit now seemingly likely.
The £18m-rated gem has become hot property following a standout campaign in the French top-flight, having netted ten league goals in 24 appearances, albeit while missing much of the second half of the season due to injury.
Dubbed the “next Mbappe” by journalist Graeme Bailey, the fledgling talent still has plenty to do to reach the heights of his compatriot, although his rapid progression of late has set tongues wagging in the northeast.
During his time at Bournemouth, manager Eddie Howe proved his knack of working and nurturing young talent, with the Englishman likely to be jumping at the chance to help develop such an exciting prospect.
Not that Ekitike will necessarily be the starting striker next term – with two centre-forward additions potentially on the cards – yet the starlet also possesses the ability to feature out wide, proving a useful asset in Howe’s squad.
Equally, the 6 foot 2 marksman is not simply a goalscorer, ranking in the top 3% for dribbles completed among those in his position in Europe’s big five leagues as well as in the top 17 % for progressive carries, showcasing his ability at driving his side up the pitch.
As they say, however, when one door opens another closes, with his potential arrival set to trigger some notable outgoings among the current squad, with 32-year-old Dwight Gayle one man seemingly destined for the axe.
The former Crystal Palace man was named as one of seven players who could be part of a mass exodus this summer, having failed to make any sort of mark in what has been a dismal last few seasons.
Having fired the club out of the Championship during his debut season on Tyneside, netting 23 league goals during the 2016/17 campaign, he has since scored just 11 top-flight goals for the Magpies, with arguably his best campaign having come on loan at West Bromwich Albion in 2018/19 when he again scored 23 second-tier goals.
In truth, the Englishman should likely have departed then with his stock high, yet has since been forced to wither away on the substitutes bench, failing to score a single goal in all competitions this season – albeit having been afforded just eight outings.
Journalist Liam Kennedy stated at the time that such a move by the club was a “frustrating” one, as they had effectively opted to extend his contract in order to avoid having to spend money on a replacement.
That was under the Mike Ashley regime, however, with the new owners likely to see things differently.
In a side gearing up for an exciting future – and likely to contain young Ekitike – Gayle should be resigned to a figure of the past.