Newcastle 'nailed on' to bring £18m star to St James' Park

Newcastle are “nailed on” to sign Stade Reims striker Hugo Ekitike this summer, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.

Eddie Howe’s side were heavily linked with the £18m-rated frontman throughout January, but his proposed move to St James’ Park eventually collapsed on deadline day.

What happened with Ekitike in January?

Newcastle went into the winter window inside the relegation zone and having only scored 19 goals in their opening 19 Premier League games, they were in desperate need of a striker to boost their chances of survival.

Chris Wood was brought in from bottom three rivals Burnley for £25m, although with Callum Wilson facing a long spell on the sidelines through injury, Howe needed more than just the New Zealand international.

1 of 15
Alan Shearer celebrating scoring

Premier League and Newcastle United all-time top goalscorer Alan Shearer is a true legend of the game, but when did he leave their club?

Therefore, the Toon Army moved to sign the French teenager, who’s enjoying a fine first full season in Ligue 1.

Having seen earlier bids rejected for Ekitike, Newcastle finally matched Reims’ £33m asking-price for his services in the final hours of the window, but the teenager eventually rejected the opportunity to link up with Howe.

But with Newcastle expected to splash the cash once again when the window reopens for business this summer, Jones is confident that Ekitike will eventually become a Magpies player.

What did Jones say about Ekitike?

He told GIVEMESPORT: “Ekitike is still one of the most nailed on signings of the summer.

“He’s not a player that Newcastle fans will know that much about, but did they know much about Bruno before he came? Probably not. So, I think that also helps, he wasn’t a big star when he signed and he’s done brilliantly for them, so I think they’ll be optimistic for them no matter who comes in.”

Liverpool 2-0 Everton! Full reaction to Merseyside derby on The Football Terrace

How has Ekitike performed this season?

Considering his only experience of top-flight football prior to this campaign was two appearances at the beginning of the 2020-2021 season, the youngster has exceeded all expectations.

While a hamstring injury has forced him to miss the last two months and two red cards have seen him sit out an extra four Ligue 1 matches, Ekitike still has an impressive goal return to show for his efforts.

In just 21 games and 1,153 minutes of action, he has scored nine goals and chipped in with three assists, meaning he averages a goal involvement every 96 minutes.

As a result, Ekitike has been Reims sixth-best performer this season, according to WhoScored, helped by three man of the match awards.

News Now - Sport News