Wolverhampton Wanderers have received a boost in their pursuit of Stade de Reims striker Hugo Ekitike, with the teenager set to be allowed to leave the Ligue 1 side.
As per Chronicle Live, the French outfit have named their price for the young starlet, amid interest from the Molineux outfit and others, with the 19-year-old reportedly having been told he can move on this summer.
Speaking in an interview about the Frenchman’s situation, as included in the report, club president Jean-Pierre Caillot stated that it will cost a minimum of €20m (£17m), plus bonuses, for any suitor to be successful in their bid: “The amount should be more than €20million. Afterwards, you have to know how to be reasonable.”
Securing a new striking addition has become something of a priority for Bruno Lage and co, with current leading man Raul Jimenez having endured a frustrating campaign last time out, netting just six top-flight goals all season for the Old Gold.
The once prolific Mexican – who netted 30 goals in his first two Premier League campaigns combined – has perhaps understandably suffered a drop in form having only returned from a serious head injury at the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
The 31-year-old suffered a fractured skull following a brutal collision with Arsenal’s David Luiz in November 2020, the resulting injury ruling him out of both training and competitive action for over six months, such was the severity of the issue.
To his credit, the former Benfica man has bravely returned to action, although the time has perhaps come for someone else to shoulder the attacking burden, particularly with young Fabio Silva – who joined from Porto on a £35.6m deal in 2020 – having failed to make a telling impact, netting just four goals across all competitions for the club thus far.
Not that either Jimenez nor Silva must necessarily be dispensed with, but adding additional firepower in the form of Ekitike could solve Lage’s goalscoring woes, the Midlands outfit having netted just 38 goals in 38 league games in the 2021/21 season.
The man who has been tipped to be the “next Mbappe” by journalist Graeme Bailey netted ten league goals himself in a breakthrough campaign at his current side, with that electric form also seeing him dubbed “frightening” by the French media.
The subject of praise throughout Europe, the youngster has also been described as a “very special” prospect by Reims coach Oscar Garcia, with all the indications illustrating that he is a player destined to reach incredible heights in the game.
As for Wolves, the potential target also offers something different to the aforementioned Jimenez, with his speed and dribbling prowess allowing him to pose a threat on the counter and get in behind the opposition, as he ranks in the top 3% for dribbles completed and the top 16% for progressive carries among forwards across Europes five big leagues.
In truth, while Jimenez has for a long time been the main man at Molineux, in Ekitike, Lage could well have found the figurehead for the future.