Newcastle United could be beaten to the signing of Hugo Ekitike after Fabrizio Romano revealed a significant European club to be ‘pushing’ for him.
Ekitike came through the Reims academy in his native France and, after a loan spell in Denmark, made it into the French team’s senior squad over the summer. He has gone on to enjoy a great debut campaign in Ligue 1 this season.
The striker has managed 10 goals and five assists in 25 matches so far. His output could have been more if it weren’t for a hamstring injury between late February and early May.
Ekitike, who is still only 19, has helped Reims reach 12th in the French top flight. Should they manage to consolidate this position with one game left, then this would represent a slight improvement on last season.
Reims finished 14th during 2020-21, on four points less than they have currently.
Of course, it didn’t always look as though Ekitike would spend the full campaign in Ligue 1.
Newcastle were hoping to bring him to the Premier League in January. Negotiations went on until deep into transfer deadline day.
Reports claim Ekitike rejected the Magpies as he was worried about taking part in a relegation battle.
Newcastle are now an attractive proposition for Hugo Ekitike
But Newcastle’s fortunes have improved vastly since Eddie Howe took charge and they now sit 14th in the table.
According to a recent report from The Telegraph, Newcastle want to sign both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ekitike this summer.
But a new update casts doubt over their ability to snare the latter, who is part of the France U21 squad.
Romano states Borussia Dortmund have joined the race for Ekitike’s signature. They are ‘pushing’ to complete a summer deal, according to the transfer guru.
The German outfit want Ekitike to replace Erling Haaland, who will join Manchester City for £51million at the end of the season.
Dortmund have already captured Karim Adeyemi from Red Bull Salzburg. But signing Ekitike too would lessen the burden on the 20-year-old German.
Newcastle will have confidence in their own ability to land Ekitike. After all, they have the funds to match any price Reims want, as well as meet the attacker’s wage demands.
Plus, Howe is setting up an exciting project at St James’ Park. Kieran Tripper and Bruno Guimaraes are two notable stars who have gone there recently.
However, Dortmund cannot be written off. They are one of the best clubs for young players to go to and develop – just look at Haaland.
This transfer battle will certainly be one to watch over the next few weeks and months.
Meanwhile, Newcastle are part of the hunt to sign a Birmingham City wonderkid, although it is Liverpool leading the chase.