Newcastle United tried long and hard to sign Hugo Ekitike from French side Reims in the January transfer window.
The 19-year-old burst onto the scene in France this season and he has been absolutely brilliant. Ekitike, who hadn’t ever scored a senior goal in his career before the start of this campaign, has nine already now, and his performances caught Eddie Howe’s eye.
After days of negotiations and a couple of rejected bids, Newcastle finally managed to agree a £33million fee with Reims on deadline day (The Times). Just when it looked like Ekitike was on his way to St James’ Park, the move collapsed.
Sky Sports journalist Keith Downie revealed to GiveMeSport that it was Ekitike who turned down a transfer to Newcastle as felt he would only sit on the bench under Howe.
Newcastle-linked Ekitike could now replace Mbappe at PSG
Newcastle will surely keep an eye on Ekitike and they may even make a move for him again in the summer. However, it may prove to be impossible for the Magpies at the end of this season.
A report from CalcioMercato.it claims that AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and French giants Paris Saint-Germain are all interested in signing Ekitike in the summer transfer window.
The Parisians are set to lose their star striker Kylian Mbappe on a free transfer at the end of this season. It looks like the Frenchman will end up at Real Madrid and Mauricio Pochettino’s side, according to the report, view Ekitike as a replacement to the World Cup winner.
If PSG are convinced that Ekitike is the man, Newcastle’s hopes of signing him will be all but over.
The Insider’s View:
Ekitike is a really exciting talent and Newcastle were right to target him last month. However, this is only really his first season at the top level and signing him ahead of a relegation battle would’ve been a big risk.
French football expert Julien Laurens delivered his verdict on Ekitike not too long ago and he too believes that the striker is not ready to be a star in the Premier League just yet. However, he claimed that Ekitike possesses ‘amazing talent‘, which explains why the big clubs in Europe are looking at him.
The summer transfer window will be an interesting one for Ekitike, especially if Newcastle stay up. They will probably try their luck again, but if PSG offer him the chance to play in between Lionel Messi and Neymar, it is likely that he’ll say yes to them.
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