Newcastle 'favourites' to bring £30m striker to St James' Park

Newcastle United are in pole position to eventually lure long-term target Hugo Ekitike to St James’ Park when the transfer window reopens, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.

Having spent considerable periods of the campaign in the relegation zone, the Magpies are now in the top half of the Premier League and head coach Eddie Howe can prepare for another season of top flight football on Tyneside.

What’s the latest news involving Ekitike?

According to 90min, Newcastle are close to completing a deal worth in the region of £30million, although Ekitike’s switch from French side Reims could initially be billed as a loan with an obligation to buy.

The report suggests the Magpies are set to beat the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United to the two-cap France under-20 international’s signature.

Ekitike has been a long-term target for Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe, who moved into the St James’ Park dugout last November.

He came agonisingly close to capturing the 19-year-old for up to £33million in January but, on deadline day, Ekitike opted to stay with Reims amid additional interest from Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.

However, the frontman looks destined to leave his current employers when the transfer window reopens as Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot told Europe 1, via Get French Football News, that Ekitike will be allowed to depart and is ‘probably going to leave’ as he would ‘waste his time’ staying with the Ligue 1 outfit.

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What has Pete O’Rourke said about Ekitike?

O’Rourke believes Newcastle are the frontrunners to sign Ekitike as their interest has not faltered despite being left frustrated at the end of January.

The journalist understands various Premier League rivals are eager to beat the Magpies to the punch, but he feels Howe is in the driving seat to conclude a deal.

O’Rourke told GIVEMESPORT: “The Reims president has come out and confirmed that Ekitike is likely to leave this summer and a number of clubs in the Premier League are interested in the Frenchman.

“Newcastle were very close to signing him in the January transfer window and they still remain very keen on the teenager, so you would probably say that Newcastle are favourites for him right now.”

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Why is Ekitike of interest to Newcastle?

Ekitike may not have featured since February thanks to picking up a hamstring injury, but he has still mustered 10 goals in 24 appearances this season.

That is some achievement as, prior to the current campaign, Ekitike had only made two senior appearances in Ligue 1.

The teenager has also found the back of the net more times in the French top flight than Lionel Messi, underlining how he is certainly one to watch for the future.

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