Reims striker Hugo Ekitike has reportedly stated his intention to join Newcastle United this summer, despite known interest from the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs.
The France Under-20 attacker has earned plenty of plaudits for his performances with the mid-table Ligue 1 side, having notched nine goals and added two assists in 14 league starts this term.
That has led to plenty of speculation about his future this summer. Indeed, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund have all been linked with moves for the talented 19-year-old.
However, a report from 90min claims that Newcastle are confident they will soon finalise Ekitike’s signing. The deal is expected to be a loan-to-buy, with Reims rating the player at £33million.
The report adds that the forward ‘is keen on a move to Newcastle and wants to be a part of the project currently underway at St James’ Park’.
90min go on to state that the teenager ‘also appreciates the fact that [Eddie] Howe is a big believer in his talents’.
Newcastle were actually looking to snap up the player in the January window. However, they could now get a deal over the line.
They will be buoyed though by the fact that Ekitike favours a move to the North East over joining one of Europe’s elite clubs.
The young forward could be the first of a number of signings for Howe this summer. Indeed, the Toon boss is expected to overhaul parts of his squad to avoid the issues Newcastle had at the start of the season before he has been appointed.
Ekitike offers pace and movement
Ekitike is renowned for his pace and movement and ability to make runs in behind opposing defences.
In some ways he could be viewed as a younger version of Dwight Gayle, who has struggled for game time under Howe.
Indeed, Ekitike could be the perfect foil for the power and aerial game of Chris Wood in Newcastle’s attack.
Despite still being quite raw, the option to sign Ekitike on loan with an option to buy makes sense. It will give Howe and his coaches the chance to see how the player copes with the rigours of English football before making a decision over a permanent move.