Newcastle United are in ‘ongoing’ discussions as they attempt to persuade Reims ace Hugo Ekitike to head to St James’ Park, but there is less confidence that a deal will be struck, according to Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie.
The Magpies have already completed two signings this summer – with Matt Targett and Nick Pope making the switch to Tyneside – while Sven Botman is nearing a £35million move from Lille, but Ekitike is clearly a target for head coach Eddie Howe.
What’s the latest news involving Ekitike?
It appeared a move for Ekitike was off the table when 90min claimed Newcastle had walked away from negotiations after refusing to part with additional agent payments.
However, it seems the deal is not dead in the water as Downie has insisted the Magpies are still in talks despite being left frustrated by the delay in securing the striker’s services and his representatives making negotiations ‘difficult’.
Dan Ashworth was appointed as Newcastle’s sporting director earlier this month and among his first responsibilities has been trying to make a breakthrough.
According to the Chronicle, Ashworth has been locked in talks with Ekitike’s agent Karl Mwalako Buchmann.
The report suggests the six-cap France under-20 international is eager to join Newcastle and is even prepared to cut his holiday short in order to force through a move, with transfer guru Fabrizio Romano alleging the switch could be worth up to £30million.
What has Keith Downie said about Ekitike?
Downie believes Newcastle have remained in discussions with Ekitike and his representatives behind the scenes.
However, the Sky Sports reporter is becoming less confident that the Frenchman will end up signing on the dotted line at St James’ Park.
Darwin Nunez to Liverpool! Done Deal! Hear more on The Football Terrace…
Downie told GIVEMESPORT: “Let’s see what happens. I still think talks are ongoing.
“I still think that there is a chance of it going through. But, if you’d asked me the same question this time last week, I would have been a lot more confident from what I was hearing.
“From both sides, it feels as though talks have cooled a little bit in the last week.”
Why is Ekitike of interest to Newcastle?
Ekitike has clearly been a long-term target for Howe, with the striker being close to sealing a move before opting to stay with Reims on deadline day of the January transfer window.
According to FBref, Ekitike averaged more goals and shots on target every 90 minutes than current Newcastle frontmen Callum Wilson and Chris Wood last season, so it is clear he would add even more firepower.
The 20-year-old found the back of the net 11 times and racked up a further four assists during the 2021/22 campaign, leading to additional interest from Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.