Newcastle: PIF 'close to completing' £31m deal at St James' Park

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe

Newcastle United are close to signing Reims youngster Hugo Ekitike, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.

The striker has been linked with a move to St James’ Park since January, and it looks like PIF and the Tyneside club have now got their man.

GiveMeSport Transfer Update With Dean Jones
GiveMeSport Transfer Update With Dean Jones

What is the latest news involving Ekitike?

As per Sky Sports, Newcastle have been given permission to speak to Ekitike as he closes in on a switch to the Magpies this summer.

This comes after the club had a £33m bid for the Frenchman accepted back in January, only for him to opt against joining them mid-season.

However, it now looks like Ekitike is ready to link-up with Eddie Howe’s side and test himself in the Premier League.

In total, he made 24 league appearances during the 2021/22 campaign, scoring 10 goals for Reims.

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What has Jones said about Ekitike to Newcastle?

Jones has told GIVEMESPORT that the deal should be wrapped up soon and that Newcastle are really excited about it.

Speaking to GMS, the transfer insider said: “I think we’re finally there with this one. It’s sounding like it’ll be about 31 million, and Newcastle are excited to be close to the finishing line on this deal.

“So once it’s signed off, there’ll be a lot of relieved people, including everybody that’s talked about it for six months.”

Will Ekitike be Newcastle’s first-choice striker next season?

Probably not straightaway. While the France youth international has shown that he can score goals, he is still just 19 years of age and has not played in England before. The likelihood is that he is going to need time to adapt.

Newcastle also reportedly have interest in other forwards, including the likes of Darwin Nunez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, suggesting that Howe may want to start the new campaign with a more proven No.9.

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Nonetheless, Ekitike will still be an exciting signing with all of his talent and potential. Over the last year, he has ranked in the 93rd percentile for non-penalty goals, 84th for progressive carries and 97th for dribbles completed among forwards (via FBref), which is quite impressive for someone his age.

He is also in the 86th percentile for tackles and 99th for interceptions when compared to his positional peers, showing that he is the kind of forward who is willing to work hard up front.

All in all, you can see why Newcastle want Ekitike so badly, though they may have to be patient with him should he arrive as expected.

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