Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot has revealed “contacts never stopped” between the club and Newcastle United over a deal for striker Hugo Ekitike.
What’s the latest Newcastle United transfer news?
The striker, who scored 11 times in 27 games last season, rejected a move to St James’ Park on deadline day in January but remains a target as the club attempt to bring in a new forward to cover and compete with Callum Wilson in equal measure.
Just how good is Ekitike?
Clearly, it’s important to remember the forward is still only 19.
Still, his underlying numbers compare very favourably indeed. According to FBREF data, he ranks within the leading 47% of forwards playing across Europe’s big five leagues over the past year for non-penalty goals (0.64), assists (0.21) and shot-creating actions (2.69) per game.
For context, Newcastle do not have anyone in their squad close to matching those numbers, although the quality of Ligue 1 might not be as high as in the Premier League as a whole. At such a young age, however, that haul is certainly impressive and the idea of Eddie Howe – who has already improved a number of players in the short time he’s been on Tyneside – working with him is exciting.
Crucially, Transfermarkt’s positional data also notes the teenager has operate on the left-hand side of attack too, meaning there’s a chance he could play alongside Wilson when fit.
What has been said about Ekitike?
Speaking to French outlet L’Union Ardennes, club president Caillot said: “They’re an ambitious club, who want to build on the long-term and who manifested their interest this winter. Since then, contacts never stopped. It’s typically the type of environment where he could continue to grow and go to the next level.
“It will need to be over €20m. Beyond that, there is a need to be reasonable.”