There are doubts over whether Hugo Ekitike will join Newcastle United as Eddie Howe is looking to add players with Premier League experience to his squad before the transfer window slams shut, according to Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie.
Howe took charge of the Magpies in November and has been handed a sizeable transfer budget thanks to Newcastle becoming the richest club in world football after the Saudi Arabia-based Public Investment Fund led a £305million takeover a month earlier.
What’s the latest news involving Ekitike?
Sky Sports have revealed that Newcastle have opened talks over the possibility of signing teenage frontman Ekitike from French side Reims.
The report suggests the Magpies have already tabled an informal offer which has fallen short of Reims’ £30million valuation but talks are ongoing and the Tynesiders are expected to return with a formal proposal.
Newcastle are set to face stiff competition if they want to succeed in their pursuit of Ekitike as West Ham United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford are all understood to be tracking the 19-year-old.
There was also a fresh twist at the weekend after it was revealed by French media outlet Foot Mercato that Chelsea have entered the race to sign the starlet.
The report suggests it would cost a minimum of £33.4million to prise Ekitike away from his Ligue 1 employers.
Reims are in a strong negotiating position should the Magpies or any of their Premier League rivals strengthen their interest as Ekitike’s contract still has two-and-a-half years to run.
Newcastle desperately need to add more firepower to their squad as only Burnley, Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers have scored less Premier League goals this season.
Although Howe reacted to Callum Wilson’s two-month injury blow by completing Chris Wood’s £25million arrival from Burnley, the frontman was unable to grab a debut goal as a late leveller resulted in Newcastle being forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with Watford on Saturday.
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What has Keith Downie said about Ekitike?
Downie understands that Howe would rather bring proven Premier League stars to St James’ Park before the deadline passes.
Although the Sky Sports reporter believes Ekitike is a player Newcastle have shown an interest in, he feels a lack of English top flight experience could stop a deal happening.
Downie told GIVEMESPORT: “From the calls I’ve made and the people I’ve spoken to, it’s my information that Eddie Howe is very keen on players with Premier League experience. Obviously, Ekitike doesn’t have that.”
How has Ekitike performed so far this season?
Despite still being in the very early stages of his career, Ekitike has already shown he knows where the back of the net is by racking up eight goals and four assists since the campaign got underway.
The striker has been in stunning form even though he went into the current season having previously been afforded just two Ligue 1 outings totalling 86 minutes.
Read More – January Transfer Window 2022: When does it open, when does it close and which players are going to move?