Newcastle United may resume their pursuit of Reims striker Hugo Ekitike when the summer transfer window opens, according to a joint report in The Athletic from Chris Waugh and George Caulkin.
On the evening before Deadline Day, the Magpies returned with an improved offer in excess of £20m for Ekitike, which Reims accepted. However, the player opted against making a move in January, preferring to wait until the end of the season to make a decision on his future.
Newcastle had already signed a striker earlier in the transfer window, activating the £25m release clause in Chris Wood’s Burnley contract.
According to Waugh and Caulkin for The Athletic, Newcastle were apparently left disappointed that they couldn’t land an additional centre-forward.
Eddie Howe ‘had always wanted’ to recruit a ‘younger forward’ who could provide cover and competition for Callum Wilson. Ekitike fits that particular bill, and the report claimed that the Magpies ‘may return’ to the table for the Reims starlet ahead of the 2022/23 season.
It’s easy to understand why Newcastle may not abandon the idea of signing Ekitike. The teenager has netted eight Ligue 1 goals this season despite only starting 11 top-flight games, and French football expert Julien Laurens believes that the 19-year-old possesses ‘amazing talent’.
He would also fill something a gap in the squad, for Howe must have recognised that all of Newcastle’s current centre-forwards are 29 or older, so they can’t really be described as long-term options.
Ekitike may find the move more appealing in the summer, when Newcastle will hope to have secured their Premier League status, something which currently hangs precariously in the balance. At least this report suggests that all hope is not lost when it comes to PIF potentially bringing the teenager to Tyneside.
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