Newcastle: £26.5m star 'wants move to happen' at St James' Park

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe grinning

Newcastle United have been boosted in their pursuit of Hugo Ekitike as he ‘wants the move to happen’ and is in line for a major pay increase by heading to St James’ Park, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.

The Reims youngster has been a long-term target for the Magpies, who thought they had tied up a £33million deal on deadline day of the January window only for Ekitike to opt to stay in France, but it appears they are close to finally getting their man.

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

What’s the latest news involving Ekitike?

Dan Ashworth was appointed as Newcastle’s sporting director earlier this month and among his first jobs has been attempting to get a deal for Ekitike over the line.

According to the Chronicle, Ashworth has been locked in talks with the 20-year-old’s representative Karl Mwalako Buchmann in the last few days and a medical has been arranged in the event the switch, worth an initial £26.5million, gets the green light.

The report suggests Ekitike, a six-cap France under-20 international, is so keen to complete the switch to St James’ Park that he is prepared to cut his holiday short.

Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot has told Europe 1, via Get French Football News, that Ekitike is ‘probably going to leave’ as he would ‘waste his time’ staying on the books of the Ligue 1 club.

However, according to French media outlet L’Equipe, Newcastle are facing late competition from Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain for the frontman’s signature.

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What has Dean Jones said about Ekitike?

Jones believes Ekitike is hoping to secure a switch to Newcastle just a matter of months on from turning down a move to St James’ Park.

The transfer insider understands the Reims starlet is set to be rewarded with a significant pay rise by heading to the Premier League for the first time in his career.

Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “He’s going to earn about three times what he is currently on in France, so I’m not surprised that he wants the move to happen.

“He has obviously been sold this project and I think he’s quite excited about it.”

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Why is Ekitike of interest to Newcastle?

Ekitike enjoyed a fruitful 2021/22 campaign, with him finding the back of the net on 11 occasions and registering a further four assists.

Head coach Eddie Howe may have splashed the cash on Chris Wood in January, by forking out £25million, but statistics show Ekitike was more prolific than the New Zealander and fellow striker Callum Wilson last season.

According to FBref, Ekitike averaged more goals and shots on target every 90 minutes, so it is clear he would be a shrewd addition to the Magpies’ squad.

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