Hugo Ekitike has revealed he would have joined Newcastle United if leaving Ligue 1, but had no way of refusing a move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Ekitike was one of the main targets Newcastle identified after their Saudi-backed takeover late last year. They worked on signing him from Reims in January, but failed to bring him to St James’ Park.
The striker remained on their radar after the closure of the window. January signing Chris Wood struggled to get goals after his move, but Newcastle were always thinking of pairing him with a younger attacker anyway.
However, they lost out on Ekitike when PSG acquired him from Reims earlier in July. The French champions have taken him on loan with a view to a permanent transfer, which could in fact be obligatory.
Hence, Newcastle will have to look elsewhere if they want a new centre-forward this summer. However, Ekitike wasn’t as far from their grasp as they may have thought.
Sitting down with Le Parisien, Ekitike has now explained how he came to the decision of joining PSG. For the 20-year-old, conversations with club advisor Luis Campos were crucial.
If it wasn’t for that, though, Newcastle could have come into consideration.
“I had an appointment with Luis which meant a lot to me,” Ekitike told Le Parisien. “It was not so long ago. We talked a lot, he is someone I value a lot.
“I wanted to come to PSG before this exchange, but he convinced me even more
“I’m not setting aside everything Newcastle did for me to come. If I had to go abroad, I would have gone there. But when PSG wants you and you’re French, you can’t refuse.”
Hugo Ekitike only targeted by big clubs
Ekitike does not believe taking the step up to PSG, while skipping out a potential stepping stone like Newcastle, represents a premature decision.
Indeed, he is backing himself to settle at the highest level and has insisted he only had offers from big clubs.
“The risk did not enter my mind. All those who positioned themselves were big clubs,” he explained.
“I’m not afraid of anything, I want to discover a high level. PSG are the biggest club in France, but also in the world.
“As long as you are ambitious and you know what you want, why proceed in stages? That’s how I thought. For me, you are not born a great, you become one.”
PSG will contest the Trophee Des Champions final – essentially the French equivalent of the English Community Shield – on July 31st. Their Ligue 1 campaign kicks off away at Clermont on August 6th, the same day Newcastle will commence their Premier League season at home to Nottingham Forest.